Georgia Farm Bureau News Summer 2022

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Summer 2022


Vol. 84 No.2


Russia-Ukraine conflict impacts ag

Grain bin accidents: don’t be a statistic

Funds allocated for deepwater wells

Georgia Farm Bureau 85th Anniversary

Farm Bureau members receive





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We value our long-standing partnership with Farm Bureau and are proud to offer you exclusive savings. *Farm Bureau Exclusive Cash Reward is exclusively for active Farm Bureau members who are residents of the United States. $500 Exclusive Cash Reward on the purchase or lease of an eligible new 2021/2022/2023 Ford Maverick, Ranger, F-150 or Super Duty. This incentive is not available on F-150 Lightning™, F-150® Raptor®, F-650 and F-750 Super Duty. This offer may not be used in conjunction with most other Ford 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 or lease and take new retail delivery from an authorized Ford Dealer’s stock by January 3, 2023. Visit or see your authorized Ford Dealer for qualifications and complete details. Note to dealer: Claim in VINCENT using #38326


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

pages 6 - 7

pages 12 & 13

page 20 & 21

GFB: 85 Years & Growing

Grain bin accidents: Know how to prevent & respond

Seven actions of highly effective advocates

A GFB member of 73 years & the longest-serving office manager share their Farm Bureau memories.

Roger Rickard gives tips to get elected officials to take desired action.

pages 14 & 15 pages 8-9

Russia-Ukraine conflict impacts agriculture worldwide Pages 10 & 11

GFB Homegrown: connecting consumers with farmers Cherry Blossom Festival serves as setting for consumers to meet farmers & learn about nutrition.

Southwest Ga. farmers gain access to deep groundwater pages 16 & 17

Ga. cattlemen publish history book; GCA celebrates 60 years page 18

Raines named ’22 Ga. Farmer of the Year page 19

McCall inducted into Ga. Ag Hall of Fame


GFB News Staff

page 4

Kenny Burgamy

View from the Field


page 5

Jennifer Whittaker

Public Policy

Jay Stone

pages 24

Jared McGukin

Graphic Designer

Logan Thomas


Ag in the Classroom page 26-27


News Reporter

page 22

Bottomses named National Outstanding Young Farmers page 25

GFB Sponsors FFA Discussion Meet; Christopher Wins page 28

Georgia Foundation for Ag announces scholarship recipients


On The Cover: Georgia Farm Bureau has been representing Georgia farmers for 85 years. Photo courtesy of UGA Hargrett Library /CAES archives

Ga. Foundation for Agriculture page 30

YF&R Program page 31

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

Summer 2022 3

View from the Field Tom McCall, GFB President A lot of Georgia farmers and residents appreciate that a group of dirt farmers got together in 1937 to start the organization we know now as Georgia Farm Bureau. June 17 is the 85th anniversary of Georgia Farm Bureau. This is a significant milestone in our history. Over our 85-year history, Georgia Farm Bureau has played an important role in the success of agriculture in our state. Those 50 humble farmers who gathered in Bartow County in 1937 wanted to expand modern conveniences to Georgia’s rural areas. Those services included electricity and better roads for farmers to have more reliable access to markets. They knew if they were going to succeed, it would take a united voice in Atlanta and Washington, D. C., to improve our rural areas. Farm Bureau has contributed more to Georgia’s ag community than just our advocacy efforts and providing a valuable insurance product. GFB holds a special place in the lives of our many volunteers, board members and employees because of the leadership development and fellowship opportunities it gives us. In my own life, Farm Bureau is special to me because in a roundabout way, it is responsible for me meeting a beautiful lady in 1978. This lady, Jane Gaines, would later become my wife and the mother of our three wonderful children. As I recall, a group of us Elbert County Farm Bureau Young Farmers were helping set up a lunch meeting we were holding at

the Harmony Day Camp. We needed ice to serve the attendees, and Jane helped me get it. I knew I would be calling her soon. Five years after meeting Jane, I was the GFB YF&R chairman. Many folks have chuckled over the story I tell about our honeymoon. We got married and then spent our first few days and nights as a couple helping the GFB YF&R Committee host a three-day GFB farm tour. Farm Bureau not only introduced us but provided our honeymoon, too. We’ll celebrate our 40th wedding anniversary this July. If you think about the goal GFB’s founders had to give farmers a voice in state and federal government, and then look where we are today, I believe those founding farmers would be very proud. In 2022, Georgia Farm Bureau’s focus remains the same. We are still responding to the essential needs of farmers and speaking on your behalf through our legislative efforts. Join us in celebrating 85 years of remaining true to the mission of being the voice of Georgia farmers.

Tom McCall, GFB President


OFFICERS President TOM McCALL, Elbert Co. 1st Vice President and South Georgia Vice President DANIEL JOHNSON, Pierce Co. North Georgia Vice President BERNARD SIMS, Catoosa Co. Middle Georgia Vice President RALPH CALDWELL, Heard County 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: Nora Goodman, Paulding Co.; Brad Marks, Newton 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.

GFB President Tom McCall and his wife, Jane

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Georgia Farm Bureau News

Public Policy Update

General Assembly adjourns with big wins for ag By Alex Bradford

Gov. Brian Kemp signs the Freedom to Farm Act into law at Dickey Farms, April 13. The 2022 legislative session brought a welcome sense of normalcy as crowds returned to the Gold Dome to engage with their elected officials. Advocacy is a fundamental component of our democratic system and is vital to Georgia Farm Bureau’s (GFB) grassroots effectiveness. More than 500 members traveled to Atlanta during the session for Farm Bureau Day at the Capitol to support our legislative priorities that benefit rural communities. Top of their agenda was GFB’s Spotlight Issue: the Freedom to Farm Act (HB 1150). Farm Bureau worked closely with the House & Senate Ag Committee chairmen and allied partners to craft a balanced and fair update to Georgia’s right to farm law. HB 1150 provides farms of all types and sizes protection against lawsuits trying to deem them as nuisances when they are simply farming the way they are supposed to, in the places they are supposed to. GFB members voiced their unified support of HB 1150, which the General Assembly ultimately passed, and Gov. Kemp signed into law in April. This legislation will ensure family farms are able to continue providing our nation’s food and fiber for years to come without the threat of being unduly sued out of business. Another GFB priority the legislature passed is HB 1175, the Georgia Raw Dairy Act, authored by Rep. Clay Pirkle (R-Ashburn). GFB’s Dairy Commodity Committee and the Georgia Milk Producers set this policy in motion last year, acknowledging increased consumer demand for unpasteurized

Photo by Logan Thomas

milk and advancements in equipment that help make raw milk safer. Gaps in current law have resulted in untested, unregulated raw milk being sold and consumed under a pet food label. HB 1175 creates a framework of food safety regulations, testing and standards that will ensure raw milk is as safe as possible while also providing a new market opportunity for Georgia dairies. The General Assembly dealt a winning hand to the agriculture community with these two priorities and other measures. The Farm-to-Foodbank Program, a priority of Gov. Kemp, grants funding for regional food banks to buy fresh, Georgia products straight from farmers for those in need. HB 1303 transitions a pilot elementary school ag education program into a permanent statewide offering. Additionally, the state’s budget included significant wins with funding for ag support services (diagnostic labs, veterinary labs and the ag experiment station), ag education (research and faculty for UGA CAES, Extension and FFA) and statewide conservation projects. Georgia agriculture is fortunate these bills passed, but it would not have happened without our Farm Bureau members’ advocacy efforts. However, the work is not over. Under the newly drawn district maps, 2022 is a significant election year for our state and federal offices. Now is the time to meet your candidates and encourage their support for Georgia’s farm families. For resources to support your advocacy efforts, visit

Alex Bradford is director of the GFB Public Policy Department. He may be reached at or 478.474-0679, ext. 5287.

Georgia Farm Bureau News

Summer 2022 5

By Jennifer Whittaker

FARM BUREAU MEMBERS, STAFF LOOK BACK IN TIME After Georgia Farm Bureau was founded on June 17, 1937, its members ran the organization with no employees until 1941. County chapters relied on members or Extension employees to manage membership records until the GFB Insurance Company opened in 1959 and counties began hiring staff. Our members and county staff are the heart of GFB. To celebrate our 85th anniversary, we asked a member of 73 years and GFB’s longest-serving office manager, of 60 years, to share their Farm Bureau memories.

HARRISES SHARE THEIR GFB STORY Charlie Frank Harris has been a Farm Bureau member for 73 years. “I’ve always thought Farm Bureau was the best organization for farmers to have a voice in Atlanta and Washington and to build a relationship with our representatives and senators.” He was 13 in 1942 when his father, J.R., and other farmers formed the Crawford County Farm Bureau (CCFB). “I started going with my father to county Farm Bureau meetings in the 1940s,” Charlie recalled. “They talked about how we could get better prices for our crops. Our Extension agent gave us the latest fertilizer and seed recommendations and advice for raising livestock.” Harris and his nine siblings grew up growing cotton, corn, wheat, oats, sugar cane and vegetables on the family’s farm five miles away from where he and his wife, Betty, live today. When Charlie joined Farm Bureau at age 20 in 1949, membership dues were $3. “For a farmer that could be worth three days of work,” Charlie said. At the time, his father got $2-$5 for seven-week-old pigs sold to families to raise for meat. When the Harrises married in 1952, Betty never guessed the organization would be such a big part of their lives. Her father, Hoke Bennett, belonged to CCFB but didn’t have time to attend meetings. The Harrises managed a cattle farm for absentee owners until 1957, then began dairy farming with Betty’s parents. They

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Charlie & Betty Harris on their Crawford County farm. Photo by Jennifer Whittaker bought the farm from the Bennetts in 1972 and dairied until 1997, when they started raising beef cattle and hay. Charlie served as CCFB president from 1961-62. For the last 60 years he’s been the CCFB treasurer. “As a member of an organization I want to be able to see a record of how the money has been spent, so that’s how I’ve

Georgia Farm Bureau News

approached being treasurer,” Charlie said. “I will not vote for a budget that does not balance itself.” The couple attended their first GFB convention in the early 1970s before the event moved from Macon to Jekyll Island. Betty thinks they’ve only missed three GFB conventions. They’ve attended AFBF conventions in Los Angeles, Orlando, Reno and Honolulu. “Attending a national convention shows you Farm Bureau is a big organization,” Betty said. Betty began serving on the CCFB Women’s Committee in 1975 and is still active. She chaired the committee for many years and

represented the GFB 5th District on the GFB Women’s leadership committee from 2001-2004. “Our county women’s committee has always had a booth at the school Farm Days to promote Georgia commodities,” Betty said. Winning the 1986 GFB Dairy Dessert Contest for her Heavenly Banana Delight is one of Betty’s favorite Farm Bureau memories. She won the GFB 5th District prize in the contest three years before capturing the state prize - a Bahama vacation for two.

VETERAN OFFICE MANAGER SHARES MEMORIES Jeanne Taylor came to farming and Farm Bureau when she and her late husband, Jerry, married in 1958. Her father-in-law, Clifford Taylor, was a dairy farmer and grew tobacco. He was the Bacon County Farm Bureau (BCFB) president from 1957 until he died in 1960. “We lived with my husband’s family and were farm hands. I loved being a farmer’s wife,” Jeanne said. Her father-in-law was among the GFB voting delegates at the 1958 convention who voted to establish the GFB Insurance Company. In 1961, Jerry became BCFB’s second insurance agent. In 1962, Jeanne joined her husband after the county’s first secretary left. “My father-in-law instilled in us the value of Georgia Farm Bureau and the need for an insurance company designed for the farmer’s needs,” Jeanne says. “After he died, we worked hard at recruiting new members and getting members to rejoin. The entire organization was a huge benefit to the farmers, and we were a farm family.” Jeanne recalls getting a list of farmers’ names from the Extension Jeanne & Jerry Taylor attend a GFB convention in the 1990s. office in the 1960s and ‘70s to recruit members and dividing it among Photo courtesy of Jeanne Taylor Jerry, herself and the county directors. She remembers following one farmer from his feedlot to hay barn to hogpen expounding why he should join Farm Bureau. “He never said a word. When he walked back to the house, I was still hot on his heels. He told his wife to write me a check and said if he wanted to join again, he would come into the office.” The farmer never let his membership lapse, Jeanne said. Jeanne also remembers BCFB’s first office being an 8x10 foot space in the Satilla Rural Electric Administration Building before they moved to the county Extension building in 1964. In 1969, a veterinarian’s office came up for sale, and then-BCFB President W.C. Scott decided the county should buy it. “I was skeptical because our phone bill was our only expense, and I wasn’t always paid, but Mr. Scott had faith and was thinking long term.” Jeanne said. “He and Jerry sold debentures to raise the money for the down payment.” Scott, Jerry and Jeanne remodeled the building, rented out two offices and did maintenance on the building to make ends meet. Jeanne has seen other changes in her job description, too, like selling tires, twine and batteries through the former GFB Service Company. From the late 1960s into the ‘70s Farm Bureau trained office managers to file farmers’ income taxes. After surviving an audit, she told her directors she was done doing taxes. Today, she enjoys promoting agriculture in schools and planning legislative events. “I believe Farm Bureau is important to our community and it will always be important to me,” said Jeanne.

For a longer version of this article & Mrs. Betty’s winning recipe, visit To read more about GFB’s history visit

Georgia Farm Bureau News

Summer 2022 7

Russia-Ukraine Conflict Impacts Ag Worldwide

By Jay Stone

The war in Ukraine, ongoing since Russia invaded Feb. 24, is being felt economically worldwide; both countries are major exporters of ag products, materials used to make ag inputs and energy sources. Fertilizers are most concerning to U.S. farmers. In 2019 the U.S. imported $963 million of fertilizer Russia Rest of from Russia. World “Agricultural producers have faced a 300% increase in fertilizer prices since last United States November, and it’s gone up another 100% in the first 3-4 weeks of the conflict,” said UGA Professor of Agricultural & Applied Economics Gopi Munisamy. “Natural Ukraine gas [for which Russia is the world’s top supplier] is a key ingredient in fertilizer production, and Russia is the No. 1 exporter of nitrogen-based fertilizer globally.” In 2019, Ukraine was the 59th-largest export market for U.S. goods and the 71st-largest supplier of goods to the U.S. Russia was the U.S.’ 40th-largest export Brazil market and 20th-largest source of imported goods. Munisamy said Ukraine and Argentina Russia combined account for about 3% of Georgia’s international trade. While Ukraine and Russia are not the U.S.’ largest trading partners, the conflict is affecting the U.S. “Fertilizer is kind of the poster child of the story, but other inputs are also getting 2020-2021 Trade Year beat up. Machinery is also a problem. It requires iron, steel, and both Ukraine World Corn Exports and Russia are huge exporters Source: USDA/AFBF Calculations of iron ore and semifinished iron products,” Munisamy said. Countries that normally trade with Ukraine and Russia have to fill in supply gaps, which can result in the countries paying higher prices for the imports, Munisamy says. Russia Rest of When those prices reach a certain point, U.S. suppliers might be inclined to sell World more of their goods to countries where prices are higher. This increases demand in the U.S., resulting in higher domestic commodity prices. Ukraine Higher input costs pose the most risk for U.S. producers already operating on thin financial margins. European Union “Fertilizer is an input cost for a lot of producers and reduced profitability Australia among marginal producers could lead to farms going out of business, or just using less fertilizer, which would reduce their yield,” said UGA Associate Professor of Canada United States Agricultural & Applied Economics Michael Adjemian. The ripple effect could reach the U.S. in other ways. Ukraine supplies 40% to 50% of the world’s neon, a key component for lasers used in microchip production. Manufacturers in many sectors were already struggling for access to computer chips 2020-2021 Trade Year for their products and could find it more difficult. World Wheat Exports American Farm Bureau has published an analysis of the impact the conflict is Source: USDA/AFBF Calculations having on ag markets available at













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Georgia Farm Bureau News

Food Prices & Availability

Adjemian said the U.S. is largely insulated from famine, but says the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (UN-FAO) indicates a prolonged reduction of food exports from Ukraine and Russia could result in an increase of 8 to 13 million undernourished people globally. “Rising prices put pressure on the most vulnerable, even in the United States,” Adjemian said. “The lowest-income people devote relatively more of their total income to food, so they’re going to feel the pain. It may increase food insecurity, but it’s unlikely to produce famine in the United States. However, the United Nations FAO predicts this conflict could lead to famine-type conditions in parts of the rest of the world, particularly the Asia-Pacific, sub-Saharan Africa, and the Near East and North Africa.” On April 27, the Biden Administration announced the USDA and U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) will provide $670 million to provide food aid to countries in need because of Russia’s unprovoked invasion. Countries receiving aid include: Ethiopia, Kenya, Somalia, Sudan, South Sudan and Yemen. On May 13, India, the world’s second-largest wheat producer, announced it is banning wheat exports with some exceptions.

Ukrainian Farmers: Plowshares to Swords

In the first days after the invasion began, Ukrainian farmers grabbed the world’s attention by using their tractors to capture abandoned Russian tanks. With all adult Ukraine males required to join the nation’s military as volunteer fighters, farmers have contributed to defending their country in several ways in addition to fighting. According to the Ukranian Agribusiness Club, Ukraine’s farmers are using their mechanical skills to repair and maintain military equipment, along with donating food and fuel to the war effort. In the Russian-occupied northern, eastern and southern portions of Ukraine, much farm work from crop production to animal husbandry ground to a halt in early March. Large-scale poultry operations had to cull flocks. The Ukrainian government has indicated there could be changes in what crops the country, which is about 1 1/2 times the size of California, produces. Farmers are expected to plant crops that feed Ukrainians over those typically planted for export. In late April, Ukraine’s agriculture ministry said its farmers had planted about 6.17 million acres of spring crops this year, 20% of the expected area. The ministry said spring planting could fall 20% due to the invasion. Reuters reported April 27 that farmers in areas of active attack are wearing body armor when they drive their tractors to plant crops.

















Source: USDA

Georgia Farm Bureau News

Summer 2022 9

GFB HOMEGROWN CONNECTING CONSUMERS WITH FARMERS Article & photos by Jennifer Whittaker Consumers and farmers crossed paths during the Homegrown event Georgia Farm Bureau hosted as part of Macon’s 40th Annual Cherry Blossom Festival. Food enthusiasts turned out to shop at the farmers market set up on Poplar Street Park in historic downtown Macon. Farms from nearby counties that participate in the GFB Farm Passport program sold popular products like fruit bread, cured meat, honey, ice cream, jams, pecans, pickles, lotion and soap, to give shoppers an idea of what they’ll find on a visit to their farms. Guests enjoyed free coffee compliments of Macon’s popular Taste & See Coffee Shop with GFB Women’s Leadership Committee members Andrea Sims and Kathy Malone serving as baristas. The event also included panels that addressed food nutrition, what it’s like being a female farmer, and the perks and challenges of operating a family business from a female perspective.

NUTRITION: LABELS & HEALTHY DIETS Scarlett Farr, an instructor for the Mercer Employee Wellness Program; Michelle Henry, a clinical dietitian at Piedmont Healthcare; and Millie Smith, a clinical nutrition manager at Atrium Health Navicent, discussed nutrition issues. “The only label on a food package you should pay attention to is the label on the back of the package that lists the ingredients, serving size, calories and nutrients per serving,” Farr said. She urges people not to pay more for a product because of descriptions that are marketing ploys. Food products described as enriched or that have a lot of ingredients including the word enriched have been heavily processed, Farr said. A food described as being fortified has had vitamins added that it naturally would not have. “Many products have gluten free on the label because it never had gluten in it to begin with,” Farr said. “Natural can mean whatever you want it to mean. Hemlock is natural, but it’s not a healthy option.” Smith encourages people to get most of their food from the perimeter of the grocery store. “When you’re in the grocery store, try to stay in the perimeter of the store. Start in the produce section for your fruits and vegetables, pick up unprocessed, low-fat meat,” said Smith. “Stay away from the center aisles where the junk food is located.” Henry pointed out that canned or frozen fruits and vegetables are a healthy option if fresh produce isn’t in season or would go to waste before you can eat it. The panel also discussed fad diets.

From left, Laura Jensen, Kanisha Miller, Joy Hunt, Leigh Anne Greene & Lindy Savelle discuss what their lives are like as farmers with GFB Certified Farm Market Coordinator Kelly Henry.

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Georgia Farm Bureau News

“A lot of times fad diets are too restrictive and are hard to maintain like the Paleo Diet where you cut out grains or the Keto Diet that’s high fat and low carb,” Henry said. “A lot of fad diets can lead you into nutrient deficiency. If you’re going to diet it needs to be a lifestyle change.” Controlling total calories consumed and portion control is important for a healthy diet, Smith says. She encourages people to stick to the serving size listed on the nutrition labels of food products. None of the dietitians are fans of juice cleanses. They advocate drinking lots of water to keep our livers and kidneys healthy so they can flush out toxins.

FARM-HERS TALK SHOP Leigh Anne Greene, Joy Hunt, Laura Jensen, Kanisha Miller and Lindy Savelle shared what it’s like being a female farmer. Miller, who grows produce that she sells directly to customers from her farm or at markets, says her days usually begin at 5:30 a.m. “I get dressed and make my way to the farm to work before it gets too hot, then I head inside to post the produce for sale on social media or can it, to sell later,” Miller said. Hunt, Greene, Jensen and Savelle began farming later in life after teaching preschool, working for a county housing authority, an auto parts company and the FBI. Although Jensen and Savelle grew up on farms, they had to adjust to the unpredictability of farm life just like Hunt and Greene. “It’s funny how you think your days are going to be one thing and then they transition into something else,” Savelle said. Jensen echoed this sentiment saying, “Yesterday at 6 a.m. I was registering pigs, doing taxes at 7, then loading pigs at 10 a.m. It doesn’t matter what you’re doing if the pigs get out. You stop and go get pigs up.” The panel also discussed the misconceptions people have of farmers. “We don’t look this pretty every day,” Miller said laughing. “We’re wearing boots and not wearing makeup.” Greene said she thinks people underestimate the skills farmers have and the tasks they juggle. “We’re bankers, marketers, and we have to know how to use all the technology on our equipment,” Greene said. Hunt says she’s had friends ask, “‘Can I come down and just relax with you on the farm?’ They don’t realize that we’re working every day.”

Georgia Farm Bureau News

From left, health professionals Millie Smith, Scarlett Farr & Michelle Henry share nutrition tips.

From left, Samantha O’Neal, Tammy & James Weeks of Nu Sunrise Farms talk to Charlotte & Ronald Crooms about the Croomses' experience of visiting all of the 2021 GFB Farm Passport Markets.

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Article & photos by Jay Stone

First responders work to rescue someone trapped in corn using a "turtle tube" to create space around the victim, then remove the corn inside the tube to free the person. People who have seen the 2019 film “Silo” understand how quickly things go wrong around grain bins and the complicated, interpersonal dynamics that can flare up in a crisis. In one scene, while the character Cody is mostly submerged in a corn bin, firefighters from two fire departments - one public and one volunteer - get into a shouting match, which only ends when Cody’s panic-stricken mother intervenes. It’s certainly plausible an entrapment incident could evolve like that. How to avoid it? First, there’s prevention – Cody, and aging farmhand Sutter before him, went into the bin without harnesses. When prevention fails, there’s rescue training. From 1962 to 2020 there were 1,298 documented cases of grain entrapment in the United States, according to data compiled by Purdue University. Six of those were in Georgia, which might seem like a small number, unless your family is connected to one of those cases. Then, the only thing that matters is whether the victim survived. Statistically, about half the time they do not.

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Northeast Georgia first responders got a detailed view of the hazards of working in and around grain bins and grain transport machinery, as well as what to do if someone becomes entrapped in the stored grain, during training this winter at Franklin County High School. Aside from entrapment, hazards associated with grain storage include dust-related explosions, falls and machinery entanglements. “There is nothing quick about this, and there is nothing easy about it,” said Brian Robinson, the state training coordinator for the Tennessee Association of Rescue Squads (TNARS). Robinson led the Feb. 5 training planned by Georgia Farm Bureau Young Farmer Committee member Colt Hart, a volunteer firefighter who had been through TNARS training on other topics. Hart saw a clear need for this type of training. “There’re a lot of grain bins around,” Hart said. “There are kids around grain bins, people around grain bins. I could just see a need. Not having any training, we could see a need for training. There’re feed mills all around, there’re chicken mills all around, there’re

Georgia Farm Bureau News

chicken houses all around. You never know what will happen. We’re training for that occasion, and if it comes, we’ll be ready.” In the classroom portion of the training, Robinson reviewed types of equipment associated with grain storage and transport, the hazards that come with them and considerations for executing rescues. “It’s very important because, while it’s not a very common occurrence, when it does happen, it’s very serious,” Robinson said. “Grain bin rescue is something that takes specialized training and specialized equipment. There’re a lot of different points to that. No. 1 is the training, No. 2 is the equipment, No. 3 is just working together. I’m pretty big about the agricultural side, the educational side, and the first responders side working together, because that’s what it takes to solve some of these problems.” The hands-on training used a grain trailer full of corn to simulate a bin. Participants took turns partially immersing themselves in the corn and allowing others in the group to practice extracting them. Rescuers, who were harnessed and connected to safety ropes, used rescue tubes that isolate the entrapped person. Once the tube, which comes in multiple varieties, is placed around the victim, the team can remove the grain inside the tube to ultimately free the trapped person. Robinson emphasized the value of information to be gained from anyone on site, including minors, who in some cases may know things about farm equipment that the first responder does not. Robinson says one first-responder mantra is “time is tissue,” meaning the victim has increasing likelihood of progressively serious injury or death the longer a rescue takes. With many farm


incidents, it takes rescue workers longer to get to the accident scene because the farms are in remote locations. “I think this class could be taught in several places throughout the state,” Hart said. “More people need to be aware of this. There are a lot of things a lot of people could take back from this class.” The film “Silo” may be viewed on multiple streaming platforms. Learn more at

Brian Robinson, of the Tennessee Association of Rescue Squads, demonstrates how grain bin entrapment happens, with an assist from “Ellie Mae.” It takes only four seconds for a person to become trapped in grain and completely engulfed in 20 seconds, when suffocation begins.




8 sec


20 sec


Source: Tennessee Association of Rescue Squads

GRAIN BIN SAFETY TIPS • When possible, stay out of the bin. • Do not go into a grain bin alone! There should be a minimum of three people: two at the top of the bin & one on the ground. • Use a body harness securely roped from above. Have someone to keep tension in the rope. • Shut down grain-moving equipment like augers. Turn off their power source.

Georgia Farm Bureau News

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SOUTHWEST GA. FARMERS GAIN ACCESS TO DEEP GROUNDWATER The Georgia Water Planning and Policy Center (GWPPC) at Albany State University (ASU) and the Georgia Department of Natural Resources are using a $49.8 million grant they received under the American Rescue Plan Act (ARP) to help farmers access deep groundwater to irrigate their crops. The project will also utilize $3.7 million in local investments. In addition to installing about 240 deep aquifer wells in Southwest Georgia, this project will support conservation planning at participating farms, environmental monitoring of groundwater aquifers and aquatic ecosystems, and stakeholder-driven management planning of water resources and endangered species. This project will benefit a region that includes 27 counties with a population of approximately 590,000 people, according to the GWPPC. Farming accounts for 24% of the regional economy and more than 70% of the water used in the region.

Gov. Brian Kemp, members of the Water & Sewer Infrastructure Committee and state leaders awarded the preliminary grant in February. Kemp appointed the Water & Sewer Infrastructure Committee in 2021 to take applications and make recommendations to him regarding federal coronavirus relief funds allocated to Georgia through the ARP. The Golden Triangle Resource Conservation and Development Council will play an important role in project implementation. “We are elated our partnership with the Georgia Environmental Protection Division has received approval to move forward with a project that will enhance the lives of our community and students for generations,” said ASU President Marion Ross Fedrick. “I am proud that ASU has the opportunity to participate in this endeavor through the Georgia Water Planning & Policy Center.” The grant will fund the conversion of surface water irrigation in Southwest Georgia to deep groundwater sources in times of drought. Reducing surface water use, particularly in times of drought, will improve water supply security and protect the rivers

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and streams in the Lower Flint River Basin. The project will make the region more resilient to drought and sustain its economy, natural systems and communities. “Agricultural irrigation is the lifeblood of the economy of Southwest Georgia. This project is a giant step forward in water management that will have economic and environmental impacts that benefit this region for generations,” said GWPPC Director Mark Masters. Over the last 20 years, multiple severe droughts have created uncertainty over water supplies and threatened the viability of the

A well drill strikes water. Photo courtesy of Ga. Water Planning & Policy Center

agricultural economy and natural systems in the Lower Flint River Basin, according to the GWPPC. This project is intended to restore and protect these waters to benefit farmers and natural systems in the region, while providing farmers with more reliable water supplies. Water resource planning and assessment in the region indicates that deeper aquifers can support more use, but this project will not assume deeper aquifers are unlimited resources, according to the GWPPC. The project will assess the sustainability of increased use of these aquifers through monitoring and modeling. “This project will enhance the region’s capacity to respond to drought and provide the state with important information about our deeper aquifers that will support sustainable water management decisions,” said Anna Truszczynski, Watershed Protection Branch chief with the Georgia Environmental Protection Division. According to GWPPC data, highly efficient irrigation systems are found on more than 93% of the irrigated acreage in the Lower Flint region, and farmers employ a host of other water conservation practices. However, greater investments are needed to prepare for severe droughts and protect the region’s unique aquatic ecosystems. “This project will completely change how many farmers I know use water. We want to protect and sustain this region – its water, its people – and we’ll be able to do that much better now,” said Jimmy Webb, a Calhoun County farmer. State water planning councils in Southwest Georgia had previously recommended converting irrigation withdrawals to deep aquifers.

“This project will greatly enhance our ability to provide water for all needs in our region. We are pleased to see the Council’s recommendation become a reality,” said Lower Flint-Ochlockonee Regional Water Council Chairman Richard Royal.

About 240 deep aquifer wells will be drilled in Southwest Georgia to transfer irrigation sources from surface ponds. Photo courtesy of Ga. Water Planning & Policy Center

Tidewater Equipment Company Want more info? Contact one of our locations Pinehurst: (229) 645-3331 Tifton: (229) 472-5732 Byron: (478) 654-5320 Smithville: (229) 924-3671 Brooklet: (912) 839-2532 Camilla: (229) 336-8780 Enterprise: (334) 475-7001 Live Oak: (386) 678-6001 View all listings on our website

Georgia Farm Bureau News

Summer 2022 15

Jackie Kennedy authored the newly released “Herds and Heritage: The History of Georgia’s Cattle Industry.” / Photo by Jay Stone.


“Herds and Heritage: The History of Georgia’s Cattle Industry,” is a book about bovines and how centuries of Georgians have depended on them for sustenance, leather and more. The book makes clear that while people rely on cattle, these animals and cattle-related businesses depend on people, too. It also traces cattle breeds, their growth and adaptation to Georgia. The book began with John Callaway, chairman of the Georgia Beef Commission. Callaway pushed for it after seeing similar cattle histories published in other states. He pulled together a group of Georgia cattle leaders to decide whether to pursue doing a book. Once they agreed to the project, Callaway planned the book and raised money to publish it. He recruited Jackie Kennedy, editor of the Newnan-Coweta Magazine, to write it. Once finished, Callaway sat with her at the 2022 Georgia Cattlemen’s Convention, manning the book’s sales booth while Kennedy autographed copies. “I knew the longer we waited, the fewer people would be around to share their knowledge of our history,” Callaway said. The 336-page book covers five centuries of cattle in Georgia starting with Spanish explorer Juan Ponce de Leon to Georgians raising cattle today. It’s beautifully illustrated with hundreds of photographs, details about various breeds, cattle marketing and Georgia’s dairy sector. At the Georgia Cattlemen’s Industry Luncheon on Feb. 17, Callaway unveiled the cover art – a photo of Jimmy Johnson with his Angus herd in Jackson County - and introduced Kennedy, who grew up on a dairy farm in Troup County.

16 Summer 2022

by Jay Stone “John Callaway’s heart for the cattle industry and his passion for this project is why you have this book,” Kennedy said. Kennedy sifted through records, collected anecdotes and photos from more than 140 cattle producers to generate a narrative taking readers back to the 1500s, when Europeans came to the New World with Andalusian cattle from Spain. “I started out early in this project asking people what their favorite part of the cattle industry was. I was expecting them to say the cattle, the land, being outside, or being their own boss,” said Kennedy. “Nobody said that. Every single person I interviewed said, ‘It’s the people, just being with other people in the beef industry.’ This is an industry with people who have common interests, common goals, and it’s a grand heritage that we all share.” Now, that heritage is documented, and Georgia cattle producers seem delighted with the result. “I’ve seen the books from other states, and every one I’ve seen, I’d put ours up against. Jackie did a tremendous job,” Callaway said. Herds and Heritage: The History of Georgia’s Cattle Industry is available to GCA members through the organization’s online store at under the “shop” tab using their member login. Nonmembers can place orders via mail by sending a check for $65 to the Georgia Cattlemen’s Foundation, P.O. Box 27990, Macon, GA 31221.

Georgia Farm Bureau News

Georgia Cattlemen Meet in Savannah New president installed; biosecurity discussed Articles & photos by Jay Stone With cargo ships floating by outside the Marriott Savannah Riverfront, the Georgia Cattlemen’s Association (GCA) conducted its annual business, which included installing 2022 GCA President Rodney Hilley, a keynote address from agricultural advocate Amanda Radke and more during its 2022 annual convention, Feb. 15-17. Hilley, of Pike County, said his focus will be across-the-board improvement, with specific emphasis on membership growth. “We’re in good shape in spite of the pandemic. We went through some tough times, and membership was down, but now it’s bounced back,” Hilley said. “I don’t have a personal agenda. I just want to make Georgia Cattlemen’s better than it’s been.” Hilley, a Berry College alumnus, said he’d like to see more interaction between GCA and the smaller schools with animal science programs, like Berry, Fort Valley State University and Emmanuel College. The convention offered a chance to connect with the cattle sector’s next generation. The GCA welcomed leaders from the Georgia Junior Cattlemen’s Association (GJCA), who saw how the organization operates and heard Radke speak about the importance of promoting beef and other cattle products directly Rodney Hilley, the 2022 Georgia Cattlemen’s Association president. with consumers. GJCA Board Members Maddie Deen and Cora Crews, who are interested in pursuing ag careers, welcomed the chance. “I enjoyed listening to Miss Amanda talk about marketing and how to get our stories out there, rather than just raise cattle, sell cattle and stay behind the scenes,” said Deen, of Crisp County. “In our school, there’s a bunch of people who aren’t as interested in ag,” said Crews, of Charlton County. “Hopefully I can take away the communication [skills] and get out and get other young people interested in agriculture.” Convention workshops addressed biosecurity, beef processing, grazing and pest management. In the biosecurity workshop, Iowa State University Professor of Food Safety & Public Health Danelle Bickett-Weddle covered ways diseases can be introduced to cattle herds and steps to keep pathogens out. “Biosecurity helps with animal health and public health,” Bickett-Weddle said, noting that protecting herds from diseases comes with financial benefits. “Better animal health means you’re not treating animals; you’re not having to cull for reproductive issues. These are all things that better biosecurity, because we have less infectious disease challenges, can do for you.” To improve biosecurity, Weddle recommends having designated footwear for on-farm use and off-the-farm footwear, preventing vehicles from off the farm going into areas frequented by cattle and implementing quarantine for cattle brought to the farm from elsewhere. “Think about - if we do some things daily on our operations that help against common diseases - could those also protect our cows against that big, weird, unknown thing that [may] come in?” Weddle said. “It spreads the same way. If your herd is at risk for bovine viral diarrhea today, and foot and mouth disease hits the United States, you’re at risk.”

For more information about cattle biosecurity, visit Beef advocate Amanda Radke

Georgia Farm Bureau News

Summer 2022 17

Raines named ’22 Georgia Farmer of the Year By Jordan Powers/ CAES News For Scotty Raines, the best part of farming is witnessing the seeds he plants crack through the ground, bursting with life. Raines was named the 2022 Georgia Farmer of the Year by the University of Georgia Cooperative Extension earlier this year. As the Georgia Farmer of the Year, Raines will compete with nine other state winners for the Swisher Sunbelt Expo Southeastern Farmer of the Year Award to be announced in October. “I don’t know of any other job where you can take something lifeless, place it in the dirt and then a few months later harvest a crop from it — it’s nothing short of amazing,” Raines said. While he didn’t grow up on a farm, Raines was an active member of the Turner County High School FFA Chapter. After high school he was a farm technician for Agra Tech Seed Research. Raines began farming full time in 1993, partnering with his father-in-law on 500 acres of rented land and establishing a personal herd of 30 beef cows. Raines has spent the last 28 years expanding and diversifying his farm, placing special emphasis on marketing strategies related to the cotton, corn, peanuts and watermelons he grows on more than 2,300 acres. Guy Hancock, Turner County UGA Cooperative Extension agent, nominated Raines. Hancock and Raines have worked to increase Raines’ irrigated acres, adopt technology to improve the efficiency and sustainability of his crop production, and use marketing strategies to add value to Raines’ crops above the farm gate price. Raines and his wife, Melanie, have received numerous awards for their farm, including the Georgia Farm Bureau Young Farmer Achievement Award, the Turner County Chamber of

18 Summer 2022

2022 Georgia Farmer of the Year Scotty & Melanie Raines, center, accept congratulations from UGA Extension Assistant Dean Mark McCann, left, and UGA College of Agricultural & Environmental Sciences Dean Nick Place. Photo courtesy of CAES

Commerce Farmer of the Year, the Soil and Water Conservation Award, and the Georgia Young Farmers Farm Family of the Year. Both are active Georgia Farm Bureau (GFB) members. Scotty serves on the GFB Board of Directors, representing the GFB 8th District. Melanie previously served four years on the GFB Women’s Leadership Committee. “For the farming community in Georgia, the recognition of Farmer of the Year allows us to get the news out there and tell the stories of our farmers,” said Dr. Mark McCann, UGA Cooperative Extension assistant dean. “There are no two alike, and it is a wonderful way for us to celebrate agriculture and the culture of farming across our state.” In the coming year, the Raines family plans to invest in a precision planter to improve plant stand and uniformity. Meanwhile, Raines is hopeful for the next generation of Georgia farmers. “I hope they do not grow weary — we have several young farmers in our county, and I love to see the energy they bring to the industry,” he said. “My hope is to see the younger generation enter farming to keep agriculture strong in Georgia and the U.S. We can’t survive without farmers.” "For the farming community in Georgia, the recognition of Farmer of the Year allows us to get the news out there and tell the stories of our farmers." - Dr. Mark McCann

Georgia Farm Bureau News

McCall inducted into Ga. Ag Hall of Fame

Georgia Farm Bureau News



Georgia Farm Bureau President Tom McCall was inducted into the Georgia Agricultural Hall of Fame April 9 during the 66th UGA College of Agricultural & Environmental Sciences (CAES) Alumni Association Awards event in Athens. Established in 1972, the Georgia Agricultural Hall of Fame honors individuals who make extraordinary contributions to Georgia agriculture and/or agribusiness. Nominees must UGA College of Agricultural & Environmental Sciences also have impeccable character, Dean Nick Place, left & UGA President Jere Morehead, right, induct Tom McCall into the Georgia Agricultural Hall outstanding leadership skills and achievements in other of Fame. /Photo by Blane Marable for CAES areas. McCall, who grows grain and livestock on his Elbert County farm, served in the Georgia House of Representatives from 1995 through 2020, representing House District 33. During his tenure, he served on the House Agriculture & Consumer Affairs; Natural Resources & Environment; Transportation; and Game, Fish & Parks committees. He chaired the House Agriculture & Consumer Affairs Committee from 2005 until 2020. He and his wife, Jane, have two adult children: Al (wife Rachel) and Katie M. Archer (husband Bristol) and two grandsons, Winn and Wilkes. Hailed as “one of Georgia agriculture’s most modest and influential stewards” during his induction, McCall was instrumental in getting the Georgia General Assembly to pass legislation during his 25-year tenure that benefited Georgia farmers, such as bills in 2009 and 2019 that protected producers’ right to farm and operate agritourism businesses. “You don’t do anything without your family helping you,” McCall said. “And family is not always blood. I have my family, my Capitol family and now my Farm Bureau family.” Prior to his legislative career, McCall was the 1982 GFB Young Farmer Chairman, president of the Elbert County Farm Bureau, a member of the Farm Service Agency’s Elbert County committee, a Georgia Farm Bureau director from 1984 through 1996, and a soil conservation district supervisor. A former 4-H’er, McCall received the 2016 Georgia 4-H Green Jacket Award and a National Honorary American Degree from FFA in 2005. McCall is an active volunteer with the Friends Helping Friends Club, a nonprofit organization dedicated to providing inclusive educational opportunities to special-needs students in Elbert County at no cost to the school system or students served. The McCalls’ daughter, Katie, formed the organization in honor of the couple’s late son, Bud. Poultry pioneer J. Henry Massey was posthumously inducted into the hall of fame. Many credit Massey’s work with UGA Cooperative Extension during the 1950s and 1960s for the success of Georgia’s poultry sector.



E R OCK 2022

Rock Eagle Community Programs July 16 | Ornithology

Enjoy a morning of bird watching along the lakefront and meet our Rock Eagle raptors.

August 13 | Back to School Bash

Ready to make a splash? Have an evening of fun and a sunset "dive-in" movie at the pool!

September 10 | Call of the Wild

Meet an animal ambassador and learn to identify animal calls, markings, and tracks.

October 8 | Trick or Treat Trail

No tricks, just treats-- join us for a night hike along a festively decorated trail and of course, candy!

November 12 | Geology

Explore the Museum of Natural History and learn about the hidden world of rocks, minerals, and fossils.

All ages welcome! $5/person. Times vary. To register, or for more information, email or call (706) 484-4838.

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Summer 2022 19

Speak Up for Agriculture 7 ACTIONS OF HIGHLY EFFECTIVE ADVOCATES By Jennifer Whittaker The key to being an effective advocate is a willingness to speak up. That’s the crucial piece of advice Roger Rickard, founder and president of Voices in Advocacy, gave county Farm Bureau leaders at the Georgia Farm Bureau Presidents’ Conference earlier this year. When training people to be better advocates for their causes, Rickard likes to share this quote from Louis Armstrong: “If you don’t toot your own horn, there is no music.” Rickard points out U.S. citizens have a civic duty to take an active role in government or at least interact with their elected officials since the preamble to the U.S. Constitution begins, “We, the people,” not I, the king. Rickard stresses that the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution gives Americans the right to petition our government for redress of grievances. “We know we have the right, but I believe we have the obligation to voice our concerns to Congress,” Rickard said. “We must remember what Thomas Jefferson said about how our government works, ‘The U.S. doesn’t have a government ruled by the majority but rather a majority ruled by those who participate.’” People who don’t think they have the time for or knack for reaching out to their legislators should think about what will happen if they don’t, Rickard says. “There are always challenges ahead and things are always changing. If you keep a low profile, you’re going to have little influence, and you will be vulnerable to government legislation, government regulations, policy decisions that others make and media attacks from people who don’t understand what you do and why you do it.”

Roger Rickard, president of Voices in Advocacy, delivered an inspirational speech to county Farm Bureau leaders on why they have an obligation to advocate for agriculture with their elected officials. Photo by Logan Thomas

KNOW YOUR LEGISLATORS Rickard stressed the importance of citizens getting to know their elected officials. “You can’t accomplish anything unless you have a solid relationship with someone,” Rickard said. “You have to establish relationships before a need arises.” When necessity requires you ask an elected official you don’t know well to support something, approach them politely and respectfully, Rickard said. “Always lead with a smile and not an angry attitude,” he advises.

20 Summer 2022

Georgia Farm Bureau News

Actions of effective advocates


Believe you make a difference.

Be Informed about your subject.

Volunteer & recruit other volunteers.

Discuss the issue. Don’t be afraid to talk.

Be a resource for your elected officials.

Go on record with your position.

Contribute your time & your money.

VOTING & SUPPORTING Rickard discussed two other ways citizens can influence our government. He stressed the importance of voting for all levels of elected officials stating that we, the citizens of the U.S., elect about 538,000 officials nationwide from the U.S. president and vice president, U.S. Congress (535 seats); state legislators (7,300); state governors, lieutenant governors and other state officials (400) to local officials like commissioners, mayors and sheriffs (529,000). Donating to a candidate or a political action committee that supports your beliefs and values is also an important part of advocacy Rickard said. “Political Action Committees are important because the contributions they make let elected officials know you understand what they go through to represent you,” Rickard said.


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Georgia Farm Bureau News


Summer 2022 21

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22 Summer 2022

Bottomses named National Outstanding Young Farmers Matt and Melissa Bottoms of Pike County are recipients of the 2021 National Outstanding Young Farmers Award. They accepted the award at the annual National Outstanding Young Farmers Awards Congress held Feb. 3-6 on Hilton Head Island. Matt is a GFB 5th District director and Pike County Farm Bureau president. Four national winners are annually presented the award based on their farming operations, extent of soil and water conservation practices, and contributions to the well-being of the community, state and nation. The 2021 and 2022 national winners were honored together after last year’s event was postponed. The other three 2021 national winners are from New Mexico, Wisconsin and New Jersey. All national winners receive a savings bond from corporate Matt & Melissa Bottoms sponsor John Deere and the Photo courtesy of NOYF opportunity to travel to represent the NOYF at future ag events. The Bottomses operate a nursery and row crop farm, growing soybeans, corn, and millet. Matt said he does not remember a time in his life when he was not involved in farming. Since taking an official leadership role in the family nursery in 2000, he has focused on increasing yields, improving plant quality, and marketing his products while working closely with the Natural Resources Conservation Service to develop erosion control measures and improve nutrient retention. Matt has prioritized developing new machinery to decrease dependence on labor, such as developing a rotary hoe that eliminates weeks’ worth of hand labor and an overhead watering system that decreases the time spent soaking thousands of newly potted plants. The couple has three children: Anna, Madelyn, and Abigail. Melissa manages the farm office and works in the nursery. They are both active in Georgia Farm Bureau, FFA alumni, and various ag organizations. The NOYF program is the oldest farmer recognition program in the United States, selecting its first group of national winners in 1955. The program is sponsored by John Deere, administered by the Outstanding Farmers of America (OFA), and supported by the National Association of County Agricultural Agents and the U.S. Jaycees.

Georgia Farm Bureau News

Ag Books Ready for Checkout at Public Libraries Emanuel County Farm Bureau Women’s Committee Member Dana Nasworthy, far left, & Committee Chairman Shari Watt, far right, along with Altamaha EMC District Manager Bill Kennedy, presented a copy of “How to Grow a Monster” to Franklin Memorial Library Director Gladys Collins. Photo by Shirley Stapleton

For the fifth year, the Georgia Foundation for Agriculture (GFA) and Georgia EMC partnered to donate a children’s book that accurately depicts agriculture to nearly 400 libraries in the Georgia Public Library Service. Each county Farm Bureau received enough copies of “How to Grow a Monster” by Kiki Thorpe to present to the public libraries in its county on behalf of the GFA and Georgia EMC. This book teaches kids how zucchini grow and includes a gardening activity for children to try at home. County Farm Bureau and regional EMC representatives presented the books throughout March. Other ag books available at your local library, courtesy of GFA & Georgia EMC include: “John Deere, That’s Who!,” introduces the blacksmith who invented the steel plow; “Right This Very Minute,” explains how food gets from farm to table; “Full of Beans: Henry Ford Grows a Car,” looks at the many products the famous carmaker created from soybeans; & “Tales of the Dairy Godmother, Chuck’s Ice Cream Wish,” visits a dairy farm. “Sleep Tight Farm” and “Hi, I’m Billy Blueberry This is My Story,” are available courtesy of GFA.

Growing On

EXPLORE GEORGIA AGRICULTURE Collect stamps at GFB Certified Farm Markets through Dec. 31

• Free, bimonthly newsletter emailed to subscribers • Available to anyone • Current news about Georgia commodities & legislative issues • Updates on GFB programs & member benefits • Calendar of Georgia ag events

Visit to subscribe.

Georgia Farm Bureau News

GFB'S PODCAST with John Holcomb, Jay Stone, and Katie Duvall

Listen online at or on Apple Podcast, Spotify, or Google Play

GFB.AG/PASSPORT Summer 2022 23

Ag in the Classrooom Update

Farm Bureau celebrates Georgia Ag Week By Lauren Goble

Macon County Farm Bureau welcomed home-schooled students to its office on Ag Literacy Day and taught the students how to make compost bins. MCFB Women’s Committee member Marilyn McLendon, far left, led the hands-on activity. / Photo courtesy of MCFB

County Farm Bureaus and agricultural organizations held events in their local communities as schedules allowed throughout the month of March to raise awareness of agriculture. To celebrate farmers and the many contributions they make to our state, the Georgia Department of Agriculture declared March 21-25 as Georgia Ag Week. Each day had a special theme for participants to explore. Georgia Farm Bureau provided a video highlighting the theme for each day during Ag Week and supplementary classroom activities for teachers to download. Approximately 500 teachers, Farm Bureau staff and volunteers used these resources during Ag Week. The first 200 elementary teachers who registered for Ag Week resources received a copy of the book “Tales of the Dairy Godmother: Chuck’s Ice Cream Wish,” donated by the Dairy Alliance and packets of zucchini seeds and flower seeds. Georgia Farm Bureau and the Georgia Foundation for Agriculture donated the zucchini seeds while the Georgia Department of Agriculture donated the pollinator

24 Summer 2022

Rabun County Farm Bureau (RCFB) hosted an Ag Day for preschoolers during Georgia Ag Week. The students learned about poultry, rabbits, plants, sheep and horses. RCFB Women’s Committee Chairman Stephanie Branch, the GFB Women’s Leadership Committee Dist. 2 representative, teaches students about sheep. / Photo courtesy of RCFB. flower seed packets. Teachers were encouraged to teach their students how to plant seeds or plant a school garden. The “Hands-On Garden Day” video, March 21, featured a UGA Extension agent demonstrating how to plant zucchini seed and plants. For “Buy Georgia Grown Day,” March 22, the video featured a chef preparing a ranch dip to eat with zucchini sticks and discussing the vitamins zucchini provide. The video for March 23, “Ag Hero Day,” introduced students to Brett Bennett, a Colquitt County zucchini farmer. On “Ag Literacy Day,” March 24, Hancock County Library Manager Kathy Ransom read the 2022 American Farm Bureau Foundation Book of the Year, “How to Grow a Monster,” by Kiki Thorpe. For “Make My Plate Georgia Grown Day,” March 25, the video featured a beekeeper discussing how pollinators are vital to growing Georgia fruit and vegetable crops.

Georgia Farm Bureau News

Pictured from left, the Top Four finalists in the 2022 Georgia FFA Discussion Meet were, from left: Cameron Sparks of Monroe County; Jesse Cronic of Jackson County; Aiza Kidwai, of Fulton Co.; and event winner Laurel Christopher, of White County. / Photo by Jennifer Whittaker

GFB Sponsors FFA Discussion Meet; Christopher Wins By Jennifer Whittaker

Congratulations to White County High School FFA member Laurel Christopher for winning the Georgia FFA Discussion Meet Career Development Event sponsored by Georgia Farm Bureau! The event is designed to simulate a government committee or county commission meeting during which the members discuss an issue pertaining to agriculture. Eleven first and second place Georgia FFA area finalists, who won competitions held earlier this year, competed in the state event on April 27 at the Georgia FFA Convention in Macon. The three top finalists were Cameron Sparks, Mary Persons High School, Monroe Co.; Aiza Kidwai, Cambridge High School, Fulton Co.; and Jesse Cronic, Empower College & Career Center, Jackson Co. Other area finalists competing in the event were: Alyssa Archer, Wayne County High School; Leanna Beverley, Brantley County High School; Whitley Gatch, Southeast Bulloch High School; Taylor Lucas, Effingham County

Georgia Farm Bureau News

High School; Chloe Mays, Pickens County High School; and Will Pace, Seminole County High School; Kamren Yaughn, Peach County High School. Contestants were split into two groups of five and six for the first round of competition. Contestants drew room numbers to determine who they competed against. During the first round of competition, the contestants discussed how Farm Bureau can help farmers and ranchers continue to increase their efficiency in using valuable natural resources and transition to green energy practices on their farms. In the final four round of competition, Christopher, Cronic, Kidwai and Sparks discussed what the ag community can do to create a preventative rather than reactive approach to farm safety given that farming is one of the most hazardous occupations. GFB awarded each of the area finalist contestants $50; each of the top four finalists $100 and the state winner $250.

Summer 2022 25

Georgia Foundation for Ag Update

Foundation recognizes recent donors The Georgia Foundation for Agriculture thanks everyone who contributed to the foundation during the first quarter of 2022 ending March 31. We appreciate Georgia Farm Bureau and the Georgia Farm Bureau Insurance Company for their ongoing support. To learn more about supporting the foundation please visit or contact Executive Director Lily Baucom at

Pillars - $1,000 + Altamaha EMC Foundation Inc. Canoochee EMC Foundation Inc. Central Georgia EMC Foundation Inc. Clayton Co. Farm Bureau Central Savannah River Area Community Foundation Farm Bureau Bank Georgia Association of County Agricultural Agents Grady Co. Farm Bureau Harley Langdale, Jr. Foundation Hart EMC Foundation/Operation Round Up Program Magnolia Loom Mixon Seed Service Okefenoke Rural EMC Foundation Inc. Planters Operation Round Up Rayle EMC Foundation Southern Rivers Energy Trust Sunbelt Agricultural Exposition, Inc. Upson EMC Foundation Washington Electric Foundation

Growers - $500 - $999 George B. Monk Ocmulgee EMC Foundation Inc.

Friends - $250 - $499 Johnny Cochran Shelley Erceg Facebook Fundraisers Leonel Godon Matt Greer Darien D. Stewart Kiersten Willis

Donors - $100 - $249 Nancy M. Altherr Lily R. Baucom Lisa Baxter Chuck Berry

26 Summer 2022

John R. Branch Mark R. Brose Gayland G. Collins Terri A. Gay Jeffrey A. Harvey Jon D. Huffmaster David L. Jolley Lisa C. Newberry Tammy E. Slade Teresa West

Contributors - $50-$99 Vickie Bagby Alexander T. Bradford Chris Caldwell Slayten M. Carter Melanie D. Clay Jason R. Crosby Katie G. Duvall Jason S. Elkins Valerie Farist Virginia C. Fulwood Lauren D. Goble Rhonda Grimes Richard L. Hart Lance Hilliard Terri O. Hobbs Karren E. Hoskins Erin E. Humphreys Sonya M. Hunt Tony H. Jackson Ashley G. James Terri C. Johnson Ken D. Jones Tammy L. King William P. Lally Thomas A. McCall David C. Moore Jay D. Murdock Kathryn A. Murray Tammy S. Parker Anna-Lisa F. Patterson Jamie L. Patterson Carmen Michelle Poole Marty B. Pritchard

Jonathon S. Rowe John C. Ryals Juletta A. Sand Maria D. Santana Tanner M. Smith Brittney L. Stephens Clayton S. Talton Jeremy R. Taylor Gary J. Willis

Supporters Natalie A. Bennett Breanna C. Berry William F. Bohm Kenny Burgamy Bridgett C. Carnegie Deborah M. Carter Michael Jeremy Causey Gregory A. Clay Kristen H. Cleghorn Stephen C. Cleveland Melanie N. Curenton Deborah H. Ellis Jeanna G. Fennell Karen L. Futch R.L. Gensel John E. Goff Constance A. Gore Renee Groce Savannah N. Hamilton Vicki S. Hatcher Mary D. Hawkins Pamela K. Hegwood John F. Hilton Jeremy R. Hinshaw Kathleen M. Howell Todd W. Hudson Dawn D. Jackson Amy J. Jeffries Ronald G. Johnson Hannah L Johnston Renee E. Jones Melissa G. Loyd Felecia W. Lucas Cheney B. Maynard

Jared A. McGukin Whitney S. Mooney Rachel B. Mosely Kenneth P. Murphree George V. Mutvic Holly N. Newlin Deborah W. Oneal Cynthia R. Perkins Stephanie L. Pierce Virginia D. Poole Amber L. Rader Louis A. Rowatti Bill Schoolfield Vicki L. Shepard Kimberly D. Siebenmorgan Daphne Dee Dee Smith Joseph J. Stone Megan W. Thompson April D. Ussery Matthew G. Voskuil Sara J. Walker Kolette Warner Kimberly A. Whitley Jennifer Whittaker *The above lists do not include tribute gifts.

Driving Agriculture Sponsors STEM Challenge Sponsor Georgia Association of Conservation Districts District Sponsor Harley Langdale, Jr. Foundation Day Sponsors Clayton Co. Farm Bureau – 5 days Grady Co. Farm Bureau Harley Langdale, Jr. Foundation Mixon Seed Service Sunbelt Agricultural Exposition, Inc. Upson EMC Foundation

Ag Literacy Book Campaign Sponsor Georgia EMC

Georgia Farm Bureau News

In Memory of Janice Long Newton Co. Farm Bureau John Black John & Terri Black Mary Burch David & Kay Burton Decatur Co. Farm Bureau Rose Mary Dixon Evans Co. Farm Bureau Robert Fountain Jr. Georgia Farm Bureau Inc. GFB District 8 GFB District 10 Glynn Co. Farm Bureau Walter Goodman Charles Griffin Rick Hubert Jon Huffmaster David Jolley Nancy Kennedy Kentucky Farm Bureau Federation Gerald Long James Malone Skeetter McCorkle Carol McQueen Parker Miller Mitchell Co. Farm Bureau Danielle Natonson

Deborah O'Neal Mark Powell Bob Ragsdale Earnest Saunders Schley Co. Farm Bureau Van Smith Southern Farm Bureau Life Insurance Co. The Southern Gin Company, Inc. Tift Co. Farm Bureau Treutlen Co. Farm Bureau Turner Co. Farm Bureau Twiggs Co. Farm Bureau Jennifer Whittaker Ann Wiesler Hank Youngblood

In Memory of Wayne Talton Brasstown Beef John Black David & Kay Burton Chris Carr Amanda & Spencer Chambers Christadelphian Sunday School Class

James Corlee GFB District 8 Robert Fountain Jr. Dana & George Gavrielides Lorie Gibson William Gobbel Carol Horton Steven Howard William Jordan Lee Co. Farm Bureau Gerald Lucas Wilson Martin Kenneth Murphree David Muse Daniel Perdue John Rackley Scotty & Melanie Raines Sharon Riley RW Griffin Feed Seed Fertilizer Inc. SJS Logistics Robert Touchton Tammi Walker

In Memory Of Sara Breedlove & Henry Scott Verner William Verner Renee Story/Bob Ragsdale Charlotte Ward/Robert Fountain Jr. Don West/Dougherty Co. Farm Bureau Wayne Wynn/Scotty & Melanie Raines

In Honor Of The Cagle Family for Georgia Ag Week/Charmaine Jackson Mr. & Mrs. Zippy Duvall/Bob Ragsdale Tom McCall/Debbie Oneal

The GFA reached 16,861 kids in '21 through the Georgia Ag Experience mobile classroom.

Circle F Sale Arena • 70 Prentiss Rd Baxley, Ga 31513 Circle F Farms is proud to offer elite Registered Brahman and F1 Cattle with some of the best genetics in the industry. We pride ourselves in always standing behind our cattle and look forward to helping you make your dream herd a reality. Come visit with us in Baxley!

Come see us October 15, 2022 in Baxley, Ga. for our Fall Sale We will be selling some of the most elite brahman genetics in the industry. Georgia Farm Bureau News

Summer 2022 27

GFA Announces Scholarship Recipients By Lily Baucom A crop of 24 Georgia students will receive a total of $65,000 in scholarships from the Georgia Foundation for Agriculture (GFA) for the 2022-2023 academic year. The scholarships are awarded to students who have excelled academically and/ or with their extracurricular activities. The selected students intend to pursue or are pursuing degrees in agriculture, forestry or family and consumer sciences at a school that is part of The University System of Georgia, Berry College, Emmanuel College or any accredited college/university in Georgia with an ag program or a Georgia accredited technical college. “The Georgia Foundation for Agriculture is committed to supporting Georgia’s next generation of agricultural leaders. Our 2022-23 scholarship recipients are passionate students pursuing various careers in agriculture,” said GFA Board Chairman and GFB President Tom McCall. “Georgia Farm Bureau is proud to support the foundation’s efforts. There are new, fascinating specialties in agriculture that our scholarship recipients are committing to. We look forward to following these deserving students and their agricultural careers.” The scholarships are for graduating high school seniors headed to college or a technical college next fall, rising college juniors and seniors, and students enrolled in the University of Georgia College of Veterinary Medicine who plan to care for farm animals. Recipients listed below.

College Freshman Scholarship for Agriculture Ten students planning to enter college this fall at Abraham Baldwin Agricultural College (ABAC) and the UGA College of Agricultural & Environmental Sciences (CAES) were awarded scholarships of $3,000 each: Bethany Champion, Gordon County; Marlee Coffman, Monroe County; Jacob Duke, Carroll County; Jacob Harper, Mitchell County; Margaret Knapek, Houston County; Emily Mason, Jeff Davis County; Michael Miller, Decatur County; Samuel Nichols, Berrien County; Daniel Peterson, Lowndes County; and Jenna Williams, Coffee County. The top three candidates – Champion, Peterson and Nichols – each received an additional $1,000. These 10 students plan to pursue degrees in ag education, ag communications, biological sciences & avian biology, ag engineering, ag science & environmental systems, animal science, poultry science, regenerative bioscience, and ag & applied economics.

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Technical College Scholarship for Ag Joshua Carr, Gordon County; Collin Crowder, Towns County; Emma Holland, Habersham County; and Jonathan Smith, Stephens County were each selected to receive a $1,500 scholarship to attend North Georgia Technical College. These students plan to pursue degrees in welding, electrical, animal science and agribusiness.

Rising College JR/SR Scholarships for Ag The foundation awarded eight $2,000 scholarships to these rising college juniors and seniors: Hattie Carter, Rockdale/ Dekalb County; Ivey Cook, Tift County; Tyler Hunter, Bulloch County; Micah Jones, Cobb County; Sarah Beth Kersey, Emanuel County; Dorothy Paschal, Houston County; Taylor Pearson, Tattnall County; and Bailey Rayfield, Cook County. The students plan to attend UGA CAES and ABAC in the fall and are studying horticulture, ag education, animal science, agriscience, poultry science, agribusiness, environmental science, entomology, applied biotechnology and environmental systems.

UGA College of Veterinary Medicine Scholarship James Holton, Dawson County, and Skylar Lindsey, Fayette County, will each receive scholarships of $5,000 as they study to become food animal veterinarians at the UGA College of Veterinary Medicine.

Lily Baucom is executive director of the Georgia Foundation for Agriculture. To support ag education for Georgia students, please consider supporting the foundation. Visit to learn more about the foundation or to make a tax-deductible donation. Instructions for applying for the 2023-24 scholarships will be posted on the GFA website this fall.

Georgia Farm Bureau News

Davis Named GFB 8th District Federation Manager Georgia Farm Bureau’s 8th District has been getting to know its new federation manager, Levi Davis, since March 7. Davis is assisting 17 county Farm Bureaus in upper Southwest Georgia with their ag promotion and membership programs. He succeeds Ken Murphree, who was named assistant director of the GFB Field Services Department last fall. Davis is a Houston County native and attended Veterans High School. Growing up, he helped on the family beef farm. He was active in FFA and served as a Georgia FFA regional vice president for the 2013-2014 term. Davis and his wife, Amy, are actively involved in agriculture. For the past two years, Davis worked as a GFB Mutual Insurance Company field claims representative in Grady, Mitchell and Thomas counties. “We’re excited that Levi and Amy have transitioned to the federation side of the Georgia Farm Bureau family,” GFB President Tom McCall said. “We look forward to great things working with Levi since he has an agriculture background and Farm Bureau experience.” Levi Davis Davis is a graduate of the University of Georgia College of Agricultural & Photo by Hannah Johnston Environmental Sciences, where he earned a bachelor’s degree in agribusiness. Davis also has an associate degree in agribusiness from Northeast Oklahoma A&M. The GFB 8th District includes Clay, Crisp, Dooly, Houston, Lee, Macon, Marion, Pulaski, Quitman, Randolph, Schley, Stewart, Sumter, Terrell, Turner, Webster and Wilcox counties.

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Georgia Farm Bureau News

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YF&R Update

Young Farmers & Ranchers visit Louisville By Breanna Berry

Georgia’s delegation included, from left, Cody Powell, 9th Dist., Decatur Co.; Bryan & Addie Tucker, 8th Dist., Wilcox Co.; Committee Chairman Walt Pridgen, 10th Dist., Coffee Co. & fiancé Mary Elizabeth Branch; and Colt Hart, 2nd Dist., Franklin Co. Others attending but not pictured were: LeAnna Hart, 2nd Dist., Franklin Co.; Anna Leigh Peek, 3rd Dist., Newton Co.; Stephen & Tara Green, 5th Dist., Spalding Co.; & GFB 6th Dist. Federation Manager Heather King & her husband, Trey. / Photo courtesy of Addie Tucker Georgia Farm Bureau Young Farmer & Rancher Committee members traveled to Louisville, Kentucky, Feb. 25 - March 1 to attend the American Farm Bureau Federation’s YF&R Leadership Conference. In a nod to the host city’s most famous event, the conference theme was “The Triple Crown of Agriculture – Food, Fiber, Fuel.” The conference included sessions designed to sharpen the leadership and advocacy skills of the YF&R members attending from across the country, along with tours of farms and ag businesses. “Our Georgia delegation enjoyed networking with YF&R members from around the country and getting insight on what other states are doing. We are excited to bring ideas back to Georgia for our own conference,” GFB YF&R Chairman Walt Pridgen said. “The trip also gave us a chance to bond as a state committee.” During the conference, Emily Leonard of Echols County Farm Bureau competed in the AFBF Collegiate Discussion Meet. She advanced to the Sweet 16 Round and earned a $500 scholarship for her participation. Emily was selected as GFB’s competitor by being the highestranked collegiate contestant in the 2021 GFB Discussion Meet. She is an agricultural communications major at the University of Georgia. Ben Cagle, of Cherokee County, was recognized during closing ceremonies for completing a two-year term on the AFBF YF&R Committee that began in March 2020. Cagle and his wife, Vicki, chaired the Georgia Farm Bureau YF&R Committee in 2019. The AFBF YF&R Committee is comprised of 16 positions representing all regions of the U.S. An individual or couple may hold a committee appointment. Members help coordinate YF&R events at AFBF’s annual convention, the AFBF YFR Conference and the Harvest for All program.

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Georgia Farm Bureau News

Women's Leadership Update

GFB WLC supports Ronald McDonald House By Breanna Berry

GFB WLC Committee members participating in this project included from left: Patsy Spear, 4th Dist., McDuffie Co.; Committee Vice Chairman Kathy Malone, 6th Dist., Laurens Co.; Andrea Sims, 1st Dist., Catoosa Co.; Melanie Hendrix, 7th Dist., Evans Co.; Committee Chairman Melissa Mathis, 5th Dist., Monroe Co.; Mary Elizabeth Branch, 10th Dist., Bacon Co.; and Stephanie Branch, 2nd Dist., Rabun Co. Photo by Clay Talton The Georgia Farm Bureau Women’s Leadership Committee has adopted the Ronald McDonald House as a service project this year. The Women’s Leadership Committee (WLC) has a long history of supporting Ronald McDonald Houses across Georgia. The 2022 committee is excited to resume helping the organization and plans to assist houses around the state throughout the year. The WLC Committee contacted the Macon Ronald McDonald House to see how it could best help families staying at the house while their children are in the hospital. Committee members collected items the house staff requested and delivered them in February. Donated items included snacks, markers, kitchenware, plastic storage containers and Clorox.

Legislative Drive-In prepares GFB members to advocate Young Farmer & Rancher and Women’s Leadership Committee members from county Farm Bureaus across the state are better prepared to advocate for agriculture after attending the Georgia Farm Bureau Legislative Drive-In on Feb. 7 in Atlanta. The event, held the day before GFB Day at the Capitol, prepared the 20 participants to discuss ag issues with their state legislators and taught them to use social media as an advocacy tool. GFB President Tom McCall and GFB Advocacy and Policy Development Coordinator Katie Duvall stressed the importance of networking with elected officials as they gave updates on legislation the General Assembly was considering, Georgia’s newly drawn state and federal districts, and the GFB Impact Funds. Participants practiced talking to elected officials. GFB Marketing Specialist Jennifer Parsons conducted a workshop on shooting videos for social media and developing a message to best represent Farm Bureau. After the workshop, attendees were challenged to film videos of themselves around Atlanta landmarks sharing why they were at the Capitol promoting agriculture. Participants were encouraged to mention the importance of talking to elected officials and how GFB supports Georgia farmers. These members attended GFB Day at the Capitol Feb. 8 and posted their videos to social media. Georgia Farm Bureau Leadership Programs 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 or YF&R Committees.

Georgia Farm Bureau News

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