GFB News Summer 2023

Page 1


CASE IH & New Holland grant right to repair

What’s in the farm bill?

Athens Tech offers ag associate degree



Vol. 85 No.2 Summer 2023
Visit today for complete offer details! * Farm Bureau Recognition Program 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 2022/2023/2024 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 2, 2024. Visit or see your authorized Ford Dealer for qualifications and complete details. Note to dealer: Claim in VINCENT using #38656. Exclusive Cash Reward* $500 FORD MAVERICK Computer-generated images with optional equipment shown. Farm Bureau Members Receive a $500 Exclusive Cash Reward* on an Eligible New Super Duty®, F-150®, Ranger®,or Maverick® FORD RANGER FORD SUPER DUTY FORD F-150


pages 5 - 7

GFB Members Back in the Saddle

With Capitol Hill fully reopened to visitors, GFB took county leaders to Washington in February followed by Young Farmers & Ranchers in March.

Want to subscribe? Join Georgia Farm Bureau to receive GFB News four times a year. Your membership supports farmers & agriculture while giving you access to more than 300,000 discounts. Visit

page 13

CASE IH & New Holland grant right to repair

Farmers & independent mechanics can now repair CASE IH or New Holland farm equipment.

page 14

GFB celebrates Ga. Junior National Livestock Champions

page 15

pages 8 & 9

What’s in the farm bill?

Did you know the farm bill has 12 sections that cover nutrition, commodity, conservation, trade, credit, rural development, research, forestry, energy, horticulture, crop insurance and misc. programs?

page 10

Sen. Warnock introduces precision ag measures

Sen. Warnock’s bill would create a working group to establish standards that would allow farmers to share precision ag data between different brands of farm equipment.

Athens Tech dedicates McCall Agricultural Science Complex

pages 16 & 17

Athens Tech prepares students for ag careers

Thanks to Athens Technical College, students who want to get an associate degree or technical certificate in agriculture have an option if college isn’t the right fit.

Departments GFB News Staff

page 4

View from the Field

page 11

Public Policy

page 24

Ag in the Classroom

page 25

YF&R Program

pages 26 & 27

Women's Leadership Program

pages 28 & 29

Ga. Foundation for Agriculture

Kenny Burgamy Director

Jennifer Whittaker Editor

Jay Stone News Reporter

Jared McGukin Graphic Designer

Logan Thomas Photographer

pages 18 & 19

Crop damage permits help farmers control deer

pages 20 & 21

Leading Across Generations: Recognize Differences to Build a Stronger Team

Learn what makes each generation tick to improve relationships.

page 22

Mental & physical health are connected

Health care professionals encourage farmers to take care of their emotional health so that stress doesn’t take a toll on their physical health.

pages 30 & 31

Farm Bureau safety events aim to save lives


On The Cover:

Photo by Logan Thomas

The U.S. Capitol and Congressional office buildings fully reopened Jan. 3 after almost three years of pandemic restrictions.

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 2023 3 Georgia Farm Bureau News

View from the Field

Tom McCall, GFB President

Now that most of our attention is turning to the growing season during the hot months of summer, it is a good time to catch you up on some legislative news.

Your Georgia Farm Bureau Public Policy staff has been busy monitoring ag issues in Atlanta and D.C.

GFB held our annual Farm Bureau Day at the Capitol on Valentines’ Day and after a couple years of holdup from going to D.C. because of the pandemic, we were able to resume the GFB Presidents’ Trip in February, and our YF&R group traveled to Washington in late March.

All of these events are designed to make certain we’re engaged and talking to our elected officials about the important ag issues that directly impact you and your farms.

As most of you already know, every five years, Congress drafts the legislation that sets national agriculture, nutrition, conservation, and forestry policy in our country. The document is most commonly referred to as the “farm bill”. The 2018 bill will be expiring this year.

The Senate and House Committees on Agriculture, Nutrition, and Forestry formally kicked off the process for the 2023 farm bill with field hearings last fall in Michigan and Arkansas and additional meetings have taken place in recent months.

I know you realize the importance of the farm bill as it connects the food on our plates, the farmers who produce that food, and the God-given natural resources of soil, air and water that we’ve been blessed with that make growing possible.

Since Georgia Farm Bureau is the leading advocate for family farmers and sustainable agriculture, it’s our job to make sure that this important bill is good for farmers and consumers.

Please join me in being part of the process and helping shape the aspects of this next farm bill that most likely will be voted on by year’s end. Feedback is ongoing and you can comment by logging onto

Thank you for staying connected to the essentials in Georgia agriculture and thank you for allowing us to serve you.

OFFICERS President

TOM McCALL, Elbert Co.

1st Vice President & South Georgia Vice President


North Georgia Vice President


Middle Georgia Vice President

RALPH CALDWELL, Heard County General Counsel


Chief Financial Officer, Corp. Treasurer & GFBMIC Exec. VP


Chief Administrative Officer


Corporate Secretary & Senior Counsel


Asst. Corp. Treasurer & Sr. Director of Accounting



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: Colt Hart, Franklin Co.

WOMEN’S LEADERSHIP CHAIR: Kathy Sanders, Laurens Co.


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 2023 by the Georgia Farm Bureau Federation. Printed by Panaprint, Macon, Georgia.

4 Summer 2023 Georgia Farm Bureau News
Tom McCall, GFB President GFB President Tom McCall, his wife, Jane, granddaughter, McCall, grandsons Winn & Wilkes and GFB mascot Lucky./Photo by Logan Thomas From left, Georgia Farm Bureau Young Farmers & Ranchers J.D. Higdon, Tucker West, Megan Thackston, Maggie Jackson, Kaitlyn & Kaleb Marchant, Colt Hart and Garrett Jackson were among the 17 GFB YF&R members who traveled to D.C. in March. Read about their trip on page 25. /Photo by Logan Thomas

What’s in the farm bill?

Congress is working to finalize a new farm bill, the legislation that determines U.S. farm policy.

The farm bill has historically garnered bipartisan support in Congress.

According to a Morning Consult survey commissioned by American Farm Bureau, 73% of Americans believe failure to pass it would significantly impact our country. Considering recent global disruptions to the supply chain, most Americans believe ensuring the U.S. has a safe and abundant food supply is a national security priority, the survey showed. Farm bill programs benefit consumers by providing food to economically challenged citizens and protecting soil and water resources and wildlife habitats.

The farm bill is rewritten every five years. The 2018 bill, “The Agricultural Improvement Act of 2018,” expires Sept. 30. If new legislation is not passed, the law reverts to its 1949 version, though Congress can extend it while the new bill is being finalized.

The farm bill has 12 titles: Commodities & Disaster; Conservation; Trade; Nutrition; Credit; Rural Development; Research; Forestry; Energy; Horticulture; Crop Insurance; and Miscellaneous.

The bill’s budget is dominated by the nutrition, crop insurance, commodities and conservation titles, which account for 99.5% of all expenditures, according to the Congressional Research Service (CRS). The 2018 bill budgeted $663.8 billion for nutrition, $77.9 billion for crop insurance, $61.4 billion for commodities and $59.75 billion for conservation over 10 years.

The CRS’ preliminary baseline projections, issued in February, for these programs over the next 10 years are $1.2 trillion for nutrition, $96.97 billion for crop insurance, $57.48 billion for conservation and $56.99 billion for commodities.

Here's a look at the “big four” titles:

Title I, Commodities

The commodity title provides stability to eligible producers of major commodity crops, including wheat, corn, soybeans,

peanuts, rice, dairy, and sugar, by setting a minimum price farmers can receive if market prices fall below production costs. The commodity title authorizes the Price Loss Coverage (PLC), Agricultural Risk Coverage (ARC) and Marketing Assistance Loan programs.

Producers must meet requirements to qualify for payments under PLC, ARC and the marketing loan program, including being actively engaged in farming and having adjusted gross income below established limits. There is a cap on how much money individual farmers can receive under the commodity programs. Participating producers must choose between PLC and ARC for a given commodity.

PLC payments are triggered for farmers when the effective price for a specific commodity falls below the commodity’s reference price, the minimum amount farmers need to get for their crop to break even. PLC has been the more popular of the two programs among Georgia farmers.

ARC establishes a revenue guarantee in each commodity. ARC comes in two forms – ARC-CO (County) and ARC-IR

8 Summer 2023 Georgia Farm Bureau News

(Individual). ARC-CO payments are triggered for participants when revenue from a commodity in their county falls below the guarantee. ARC-IR payments are tied to historical revenue from a specific commodity on an individual farm.

For a detailed description of programs under the commodities title, visit

Title II, Conservation

The conservation title provides incentives for farmers to set aside land or use practices that protect natural resources. The conservation title authorizes the Conservation Reserve Program (CRP), the Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP) and the Conservation Stewardship Program (CSP), among others.

CRP is referred to as a “land retirement program.” Farmers who enter CRP contracts agree to take specified land out of production for 10 or 15 years. In return, the federal government compensates the farmer at a cash rental rate based on National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS) averages for the farm location. In 2022, Georgia farmers enrolled a total of 184,000 acres in CRP, the USDA Farm Service Agency reported. EQIP and CSP are classified as “working lands programs,” which incentivize farmers to adopt production practices that will conserve natural resources on their farm.

Under EQIP, farmers who agree to follow conservation practices on their farms receive financial assistance. Practices EQIP supports include nutrient management, no-till, strip till, cover crops, field-edge filter strips and fences to keep livestock out of streams.

To participate in CSP, farmers must demonstrate their conservation efforts and agree to continued environmental improvement tactics in contracts up to five years.

For a detailed description of programs under the conservation title, visit

Title XI, Crop Insurance

The Federal Crop Insurance Program (FCIP), established in 1938, is a key component of federal support for U.S. farmers. FCIP facilitates farmers’ access to private insurance covering financial losses because of poor growing or market conditions. Congress has expanded FCIP to cover more commodities and address more types of risks in the past three farm bills. According to the Congressional Research Service, USDA crop insurance subsidies covered about 62% of total premiums sold in 2021, covering 444 million acres and $150 billion in livestock and crop value.

To learn more about FCIP, visit

Title IV, Nutrition

The nutrition title is especially important because it ensures financially insecure Americans have access to nutritious food. In the 2018 farm bill, the nutrition title accounted for 76% of farm bill expenditures and was the largest component of the farm bill.

The nutrition title dates to 1964. It has grown to include multiple nutrition programs, the largest by far being the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), which enables economically challenged people to buy food. Other programs include the National School Lunch Program and Senior Farmers’ Market Nutrition Program. For more information, visit

Summer 2023 9 Georgia Farm Bureau News


U.S. Sen. Raphael Warnock has introduced the Promoting Precision Agriculture Act with Sen. John Thune (R-SD), to create a federal working group to establish interconnectivity standards that would allow farmers to share precision ag data between different brands of farm equipment. Warnock and Thune are working to get their bill included in the 2023 farm bill.

“My bill directs the formation of a task force to develop connectivity standards for different brands of precision ag technology equipment like we have for cell phones,” Warnock said. “We’ve also got to get the rural broadband piece right. You’ve got to have good rural broadband connection for this equipment to work at its optimum capability. This will not only help farmers but will also help rural communities in general.”

In April Warnock visited the UGA Iron Horse Farm near Watkinsville to see UGA precision agriculture technology research. Warnock also met with Athens-area farmers to discuss how they use precision ag.

Tommy Crowe said he uses precision ag equipment to determine the rates at which fertilizer, water and crop management chemicals are applied in his pecan orchard.

“We try to get it down to the ounce of giving each tree what it needs,” Crowe said.

Dairy farmer Charlie Sanders said his family uses precision technology to produce forage crops and mix customized rations for their cows based on their health and metabolic needs.

Diversified row crop farmer Lee Nunn, who has used precision ag technology for 10 years, estimates it has helped him decrease

the fertilizer he applies to his fields by at least 15% and decrease irrigation water applied to his crops 20 to 25%.

“Most of my equipment has some sort of precision ag technology on it whether it’s auto steer or data collection,” Nunn said. “Precision ag technology helps me use minimum inputs to grow my crops.”

Beef producer Caroline Lewallen suggested the next farm bill include language to provide grants or low interest loans to make existing camera technology that grades beef carcasses more accessible for small rural USDA inspected facilities.

“If these facilities could begin offering grading services, small producers could command higher prices for their beef,” Lewallen said.

Warnock asked the farmers to share challenges they face when using precision technology. All said lack of broadband internet prevents them from using their precision ag equipment at its full potential.

Elsner said the inability of different brands of equipment to “talk” to each other or share data is a hold-up. “If you have an iPhone and I have an android, we can still talk to each other, but it’s not like that when it comes to sharing data between different ag equipment brands.”

Warnock has made improving Georgia’s broadband infrastructure a priority and has secured more than $570 million in federal funds to do this to date. In December, Warnock announced $250 million in American Rescue Funding will be invested in expanding broadband access in Georgia.

10 Summer 2023 Georgia Farm Bureau News
Above: U.S. Sen. Raphael Warnock, a member of the Senate Agriculture Committee, met with farmers at the UGA Iron Horse Farm in April to discuss precision ag technology. Participating in the roundtable were, clockwise from left, Tommy Crowe, Charlie Sanders, Sen. Warnock, Eric Elsner, Lee Nunn and cattle producer Caroline Lewallen. Photo by Jennifer Whittaker

General Assembly Passes Truck Weight Variance

The Georgia General Assembly adjourned Sine Die on March 29, after addressing numerous issues related to Georgia agriculture. Legislators passed impactful legislation this year that moves the ball forward for our state’s farming families.

After many years of debate at the state capitol, legislation increasing truck weights finally passed this year. A broad coalition of organizations, including Farm Bureau, banded together with Rep. Steven Meeks and Sen. Russ Goodman to put Georgia on an even economic playing field with surrounding states. House Bill 189 increases the variance for allowable gross vehicle weights from 5% to 10% for all commercial trucks carrying certain agricultural or forestry products.

The 10% variance is only applicable within 150 miles from point of origin, and trucks may not haul at the higher weights in any Georgia nonattainment zone, which is made up of mostly metro counties. There will be increased fines for overweight trucks based on every pound over the allowed variance. Local law enforcement who become certified to do so, may stop and weigh trucks on local and city roads but not on state roads or highways. All fines collected are to be remitted to the state treasury to prevent enforcement for profit by a local government.

The bill will have to be revisited after it sunsets in 2025. In the meantime, this legislation will reduce transportation costs for farmers and loggers by reducing the number of trips needed to haul the same amount of goods.

Georgia agriculturists are concerned about the loss of farmland to development and the impact this will have on our state’s number one industry. SB 220, which is a priority of Agriculture

Commissioner Tyler Harper, establishes the Georgia Farmland Conservation Fund. This fund provides an avenue to finance the acquisition of development rights on farmland under threat of development. Farmers who want to protect their farm from being developed can be compensated for the value of the development rights of their land, which is being voluntarily encumbered in perpetuity.

Georgia legislators passed a bill, introduced by Rep. Chas Cannon, that establishes a new commodity commission to support Georgia’s growing citrus sector. The commission will allow producers to raise money for marketing, promotion and research to benefit the industry and continue building Georgia’s citrus market.

With this being the first year of a new biennium, bills that did not pass remain eligible for consideration next year. Several of these proposals seek to prevent certain foreign entities from purchasing Georgia farmland. Those entities include nonresident individuals, businesses and governments considered foreign adversaries of the United States. These bills intend to protect our food security and ensure the continued success of Georgia farmers.

When legislators return to the gold dome next year, Farm Bureau will continue working to protect the future of agriculture and ensure farmers’ voices are heard.

Summer 2023 11 Georgia Farm Bureau News Public Policy Update
Jake Matthews is a GFB Governmental Affairs Specialist. He may be reached at or 478-474-8411, ext. 5286. Gov. Brian Kemp signed ag legislation in Bainbridge on April 18. / Photo courtesy of Gov. Kemp’s office.

Parker joins GFB Public Policy staff

Ben Parker has joined the Georgia Farm Bureau Public Policy Department as the national affairs coordinator. Parker developed a love of agriculture while growing up in Perry and being an active FFA member. He earned an applied biotechnology degree from the University of Georgia College of Agricultural & Environmental Sciences to understand modern agriculture.

Before coming to GFB, Parker spent two years researching soybean genomes to find cost-effective, insect-resistant genes under the tutelage of Dr. Wayne Parrott at UGA. Parker started his policy career advocating for increased use of modern seed varieties before working on state level agriculture policies with the Georgia Agribusiness Council.

His time at UGA led him to engage in national agriculture policies through the Congressional Ag Fellows program in the office of U.S. Rep. Austin Scott. Parker previously worked to establish an emerging bioplastic production company before returning to his true passion of keeping Georgia a national leader in the agricultural industry. He currently lives in Perry.

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Ben Parker Photo by Logan Thomas


Farmers with red CASE IH or blue New Holland farm equipment can now repair their own machinery or take it to an independent mechanic.

The American Farm Bureau Federation (AFBF) and CNH Industrial brands Case IH and New Holland signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) March 9 that gives farmers the right to repair their own equipment. This MOU follows a similar agreement AFBF signed with John Deere in January.

“Our members urged us to find a private-sector-solution that gives them access to repair their own equipment. I’m pleased months of discussions have again paid off,” said AFBF President Zippy Duvall. “Farmers and ranchers are more dependent on technology than ever before, so it’s critical they have access to the tools to keep things running on the farm.”

The MOU sets a framework for farmers and independent repair facilities in all 50 states and Puerto Rico to access CNH Industrial brand manuals, tools, product guides and information to self-diagnose and self-repair machines, as well as support from CNH Industrial brands to directly purchase diagnostic tools and order products and parts.

& Ga. FSA Committee Named

“We understand the work our customers do is time-sensitive and critical for a safe and abundant food and fiber supply,” said Sally Johnson, vice president, New Holland Agriculture North America. “This agreement is the next step in delivering on New Holland’s promise to better serve our customers in a way that helps them safely and effectively maintain their equipment.”

The MOU respects intellectual property rights and recognizes the need to ensure safety controls and emission systems are not altered. CNH Industrial and AFBF will meet semiannually to review the agreement and address concerns.

“This agreement underscores CNH Industrial’s commitment to empowering our customers by providing them with resources and tools that allow them to safely self-repair their equipment in a timely matter,” said Kurt Coffey, vice president, Case IH North America. “As a farmer, Farm Bureau member and brand leader, this MOU is a positive step forward in continuing to put the customer at the center of everything Case IH does.”

Read the MOU at Find information about CASE IH self-repair at Find information about New Holland self-repair at

Summer 2023 13 Georgia Farm Bureau News
nhselfrepair. In March, the USDA Farm Service Agency (FSA) announced Georgia FSA state committee members. U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack appointed Committee Chairman Bill Brim of Tifton, Reese Thompson of Vidalia and Lindy Savelle of Ochlocknee. The committee is responsible for the oversight of FSA farm programs and county committee operations, resolving program delivery appeals, keeping producers informed about FSA programs and operating in a manner consistent with USDA equal opportunity and civil rights policies. Brim and Thompson were previously announced as appointees and have been serving on the committee since June 2, 2022.
Photo courtesy of New Holland.

GFB celebrates GA Junior National Livestock Champions

GFB President Tom McCall, center, congratulates from left, Colby Yarbrough, Matthew Ferrell, Luke Mobley, Cheyne Norton, Aly Corzine, Bailey Williams, Rydlee Ponder, Maddie Dean, Abigail Kendrick & Rachel Hayes. /Photo by Logan Thomas

Georgia Farm Bureau (GFB) celebrated the newest group of Georgia Junior National Livestock Show winners during its Evening of Champions dinner, May 5. GFB welcomed the students, their families, FFA advisors and 4-H agents to its state office in Macon.

“Congratulations to all of you champions. Your accomplishment is a big deal. The time you spent working with your best friends, and I know how these animals turn into your best friends, paid off,” said GFB President Tom McCall. “There’s ten of y’all here tonight. You worked with your animals, and they won out over more than 4,800 animals entered at the livestock show.”

This is the 12th year GFB has sponsored the cash prizes and belt buckles awarded to the Ga. Jr. National Livestock grand champion species exhibitors.

The Ga. Jr. National is open to Georgia 4-H and FFA members from across the state. The show is the culmination of the youth programs’ livestock projects, which give students a chance to learn how to care for beef cattle, dairy heifers, hogs, goats and lambs for months, train them to be shown, and then compete for state honors as having the best animal in the various species categories. About 1,903 Georgia 4-H and FFA students from across the state showed 2,816 animals as they competed in the 2023 Ga. Jr. National Livestock Show Feb. 22-25 at the Georgia National Fairgrounds & Agricenter in Perry. About 354 4-H and FFA members showed 707 goats in the 2022 Georgia Jr. Market Goat Shows held at the Agricenter last October while the 2022 Georgia Jr. Market Lamb show drew 203 exhibitors who showed 431 lambs.

GFB awarded a total of $18,000 in prize money to the grand champion exhibitors who are: Breeding Beef Heifer - Maddie Dean, Crisp Co.; Breeding Doe - Bailey Williams, Gordon Co.; Breeding Ewe - Abigail Kendrick, Turner Co.; Commercial Dairy HeiferRydlee Ponder, Gilmer Co.; Market Barrow - Colby Yarbrough, Jeff Davis Co.; Market Beef Cattle (steer) Luke Mobley, Colquitt Co.; Market Doe - Cheyne Norton, Grady Co.; Market Gilt - Matthew Ferrell, Brooks Co.; Market Lamb - Rachel Hayes, Decatur Co.; and Market Wether - Aly Corzine, Houston Co.

Visit to read more about each exhibitor.

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ATHENS TECH DEDICATES McCall Agricultural Science Complex

Since 2014, Athens Technical College (ATC) has offered an agricultural science program to prepare students in Northeast Georgia for agricultural jobs that need education beyond high school but not a bachelor’s degree.

The program began on ATC’s main Athens campus, but last year moved to the new Tom McCall Agricultural Science Complex on ATC’s Elberton campus.

On March 31, ATC held a dedication ceremony to honor the man for whom the complex is named.

“Tom has always supported Athens Technical College. He understands the importance of what we’re doing for workforce development and worked tirelessly to support Athens Tech during his 26 years in the General Assembly,” ATC President Andrea Daniels said.

The ag science complex includes a 10,320-square-foot classroom building and a 17,091-square-foot arena.

“I can’t think of anyone more deserving to name this facility for,” said former Gov. Nathan Deal, who signed the state budget that allocated funds for construction of the complex. “I have an ag background and it makes me more appreciative of what I see here. This is a facility that will give students practical, hands-on training to secure jobs and make a living for their families.”

The classroom building includes four labs with lecture seating, four offices, one classroom, a conference room and a beautiful lobby and student workspace with windows facing a pond that sits below an adjoining patio. A 5,400-square-foot greenhouse will be completed soon.

“It’s because of people like Tom McCall, who from his 26 years of service in the General Assembly to him serving as president

of Georgia Farm Bureau, have ensured that Georgia agriculture is successful. Tom understands that our state can’t be successful if agriculture isn’t successful and that providing our own food and fiber is a national security issue,” Georgia Agriculture Commissioner Tyler Harper said. “What better way to honor Tom’s legacy than with an arena and classroom building where new ag leaders’ minds will be shaped?”

The arena has a 5,841-square-foot show ring with bleacher seating for 274 people, a 4,725-square-foot tie-out, multipurpose area and a 1,876-square-foot ag mechanic/construction lab. The first livestock show was held in the arena in January. To rent the arena, call ATC at 706-369-5875.

“Thank you all for this today. It is a much, much undeserved honor, but I do appreciate it. Y’all are sitting on one of the most beautiful campuses in Georgia, and I’m looking forward to it turning out a bunch of agricultural graduates to go into the ag workforce,” McCall said. “I want to thank Gov. Deal for putting this facility in Elberton and Terry England, former chairman of the House Appropriations Committee, for allocating the money for it and everyone who supported it.”

Summer 2023 15 Georgia Farm Bureau News
Tom & Jane McCall, center, were joined by their family to celebrate the dedication of the Tom McCall Agricultural Science Complex on Athens Technical College’s Elberton campus. / Photo by Jennifer Whittaker


Students who want a career in agriculture but feel a four-year degree isn’t the right fit have another option at Athens Technical College (ATC).

“Athens Technical College is a great place to explore vocational options. We want students to succeed and will help you find your niche,” said ATC Agricultural Science Program Chair Dr. Chris Morgan.

ATC students can earn an associate degree in agricultural science through one of three tracks - animal science, poultry science or horticulture.

“We equip those students with the skills they need to live a successful life.”

Because many ATC students juggle work and academics, all of the agriculture courses are currently streamed online during each class.

“If a student desires, they may join each class online to watch the lecture and class activities and just come to the Elberton campus for laboratory activities and exams,” Morgan said.


Getting a degree without amassing student debt attracts many students to ATC’s programs.

“I chose Athens Tech because I want to pursue my higher education without going into debt from student loans,” said Eli Clarke, an ATC student studying horticulture. “I enjoy hands-on learning and value having practical skills.”

Clarke was introduced to plants by his mother, who worked in a greenhouse when he was very young.

“She switched to teaching when I was two or three years old and took me on walks around the UGA campus teaching me the Latin names of plants, so I’ve always had a knack for plant science,” Clarke said.

Clarke continued learning about horticulture as an FFA member. “My experience at Athens Tech has been superb. I’ve made friends, connected with my teachers and felt part of a community,” Clarke said.

Clarke wants people to value Georgia’s technical colleges.

Morgan, who developed ATC’s ag science program, says many agriculture jobs need employees with some background in agriculture and business, but not a four-year degree.

“Many of our students entered the workforce directly out of high school but found the jobs available to them did not have the pay nor the opportunities they had hoped for,” Morgan said.

“These jobs we are being trained for are imperative skills for the future of our society. Where will we go without construction workers, plumbers, truck drivers, farmers, nurses,” Clarke said. “I think the most valuable thing for someone to learn are tangible skills that can be used anywhere in the world.”

16 Summer 2023 Georgia Farm Bureau News
ATC agricultural students will practice vaccinating, deworming and tagging calves on this model. Article & phots by Jennifer Whittaker

After graduation, Clarke plans to see what he can accomplish with an associate degree and later, if necessary, return to a four-year university to pursue a degree in geographic information systems software to make maps and analyze geographic data.


Graduates of the ag science program have gone on to obtain jobs in the poultry sector as managers at processing plants, feed mills and egg-laying facilities, or working as field technicians, Morgan said. Others work at greenhouses, and some go back to their family farms.

“Several students are employed by Pilgrim’s Pride, one at the Georgia Poultry Lab, some work for USDA or the Georgia Department of Agriculture,” Morgan said. “We have several graduates at James Greenhouse in Colbert.”

The ATC website lists Classic Groundcovers, Centurion Poultry and Country Charm Eggs as employers of past students. ATC says ag science program graduates typically have starting salaries in the $30,000-$45,000 range


To earn an ATC agricultural associate degree, students must successfully complete four courses in their track subject area. They must earn 22 credit hours of general education courses (English, math, a humanities, etc.), 18 credit hours of core ag science courses: Introduction to Agriculture, Leadership in Agribusiness, Agribusiness Management, Agricultural Finance and Credit, complete an internship, and either Agricultural Mechanics or Agricultural Structures. Students also take two elective ag courses.

ATC offers students the option of earning a technical certificate of credit (TCC) in animal science, poultry science or horticulture. TCCs require only essential courses for the area of specialization. In addition to the program track TCCs, ATC also offers an Agricultural Systems & Mechanics TCC.

The animal science program is the most popular track students choose to study. “The program allows for several electives, so many students study animal science and take poultry or horticulture courses as electives,” Morgan said.

During spring semester, 20 students enrolled in ATC’s ag science program, Morgan said, adding that fall enrollment is typically higher. There have been as many as 40 students enrolled in the program. The program’s new facility on ATC’s Elberton Campus can accommodate up to 80 students, Morgan said.


The Georgia Foundation for Agriculture offers scholarships to students attending any accredited Georgia technical college and majoring in an area of agriculture or an ag-related field of study. Visit to learn more.

Summer 2023 17 Georgia Farm Bureau News
ATC Agricultural Science Program Chair Dr. Chris Morgan, left, and Georgia Poultry Federation President Mike Giles discuss the poultry processing lab where ATC students will learn how to harvest, defeather and chill chickens.

Crop Damage Permits Help Farmers Control Deer

Deer grazing row crops, especially when crops first emerge, are costing Georgia farmers dearly.

Georgia Farm Bureau has been working with the Georgia Department of Natural Resources (DNR) and wildlife experts for more than six years to raise awareness and find solutions.

Crop yield and economic loss farmers are experiencing from deer eating their soybean, corn, wheat, cotton and peanut crops was the main topic discussed at the GFB Feedgrain/Soybean Commodity Committee in March.

Several farmers quantified the impact deer damage is having on their farms. One said deer destroyed 80 acres of his soybean crop

last year, never letting the plants get above 3 inches tall. Another said replanting costs at least $100/acre for seed alone.

A 2017 report released by the UGA School of Forestry & Natural Resources highlights 2016 crop damage experienced by 109 farmers in a 20-county area in Southeast Georgia. Farmers surveyed reported 20.5% of 94,560 crop acres in the area had damage in 2016. Average loss per farmer due to deer damage was $33,786. The estimated combined economic impact for 2016 yield loss and replanting for farmers in the 20-county survey area was over $3 million.

Charlie Killmaster, state deer biologist for the Georgia DNR Wildlife Resources Division, spoke to the committee about deer crop damage permits.

Farmers can visit to apply for a deer crop damage permit that allows the applicant and up to six other people to shoot deer caught in growing crop fields the applicant has registered. Farmers can register up to 32 fields on one permit.

Killmaster encourages farmers to apply for the permit before planting their crops, so they have it when crops emerge, and deer start grazing their crops. The DNR accepts permit applications throughout the crop growing season. Most permits expire before firearm hunting season begins in mid-October.

When applying for a damage permit, farmers will supply information such as acres planted and a description of crop damage deer have caused in past

18 Summer 2023
Deer ate the leaves off these recently emerged cotton plants, making it necessary for farmers to replant their crops.

years. Applicants will identify the locations of the fields they want to register using a satellite map feature that is part of the online application.

Most damage permits allow a farmer or his assistants to shoot up to 10 deer, but farmers still experiencing deer damage after shooting 10, can reapply for another permit, Killmaster said.

Farmers who have had multiple years of crop damage and know they will need to shoot more than 10 deer may request a higher number, reasonable for the acreage they are registering, Killmaster said. Applicants should explain why they need more than 10 tags in the permit form section where they describe their crop damage.

Farmers who list assistants on their damage permits will need the legal name of each assistant as it appears on an official ID, such as a driver’s license or social security card, and the person's ID number.

Once a permit is approved, applicants and assistants listed on the permit must have a printed copy of the permit with them any time they shoot deer in the registered fields during growing season to control crop damage.

Deer control activities, such as spotlighting or scanning with a thermal scope, cannot be conducted while on a public road, Killmaster said. This is illegal without a deer crop damage permit and is considered unethical under recreational hunting. Firearms

This cotton field should be green with emerging plants. Grazing deer left it full of brown stalks.

cannot be legally discharged from, across, or within 50 yards of a public road.

Deer caught grazing harvested fields can’t be shot under the crop damage permit. Farmers applying for the damage permit don’t need a Georgia hunting license, Killmaster said. During hunting season, landowners don’t need a license to hunt land they own but do need a DNR deer harvest record.

While the application to receive a deer damage hunting permit must be completed online, applicants may call 1-800-366-2661 to request help with navigating the online application.


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Generational differences are nothing new. What’s different is more generations are interacting at work and in volunteer organizations as people live longer and delay retirement for financial reasons.

Anna Leigh Peek, Nutrien Ag Solutions Sr. Advisor for Learning & Development, led a workshop at the Georgia Farm Bureau (GFB) Presidents’ Conference looking at the five generations county Farm Bureau leaders are encountering in their communities. Whether supervising multiple generations of employees on your farm or leading them as president of a county Farm Bureau, helping each generation understand each other is key to having a stronger team, Peek said.

“Your county boards can be a mix of folks of different ages,” Peek said. “For us to continue to have success and work together, we need to understand what each generation brings to the table.”

Peek encouraged county Farm Bureau leaders to engage multiple generations as volunteers because of the benefits having a multigenerational team provides, such as 1) multiple perspectives; 2) diverse problem-solving abilities; 3) learning & mentoring opportunities; 4) institutional knowledge transfer/ retention & 5) unique relationships.

“Georgia Farm Bureau’s motto is ‘We are all Farm Bureau.’ Even though we may all have a passion for agriculture, how we view the world, work and Farm Bureau can vary,” Peek said. “For us to continue to have success and work together, we need to understand what each generation brings to the table.”


Each generation is shaped by the major world events it experiences in its formative years.

The Silent Generation witnessed the introduction of planes, cars, indoor plumbing and agriculture’s mechanization. Many lived during the Great Depression, and all lived through World War II.

Older Baby Boomers started life in the growing post-war economy the U.S. experienced after WWII. The Cold War, the space race, seeing fathers serve in the Korean War and later serving in Vietnam themselves shaped their perspective along with the Civil Rights and feminist movements.

Gen Xers saw their parents cope with the 1970s gas crisis coupled with high inflation followed by the Farm Crisis of the 1980s. Many celebrated America’s bicentennial. They saw the Cold War end with the fall of the Berlin Wall. This generation was the last to grow up without technology tied to every aspect of their lives.

Millennials are more comfortable with technology as they grew up with personal computers and saw email and the Internet introduced in their childhoods. Many grew up as reality shows took over TV networks and social media became a way of life. They witnessed the first mass school shooting at Columbine, 9/11, and came of age during the Great Recession.

Gen Zers grew up in an influencer culture. They grew up with smartphones and laptops. Mass shootings and whistle blowers sharing state secrets have been regular occurrences their entire lives. Politics have become more polarized. The younger members of this generation are still being shaped.


Remember there are exceptions to generalizations about each generation and get to know people individually before assigning assumptions to anyone, Peek said. How someone is raised and the values their parents teach can make members of one generation identify with members of another who share the same values.

“Try to get to know the individual. Just because you’ve seen or previously experienced a particular type of behavior with someone from another generation, try to get to know the new person you are working with before labeling them with all the negative traits of their generation,” Peek said. “It makes me mad when people say, ‘Millennials don’t work hard,’ I grew up on a farm, and I have a good work ethic. Not every Boomer was at Woodstock just like every Millennial isn’t a Kardashian.”

20 Summer 2023 Georgia Farm Bureau News


Peek says each generation of volunteers brings assets to the table that can benefit Farm Bureau. These assets may include: Silent (dependable/detail oriented); Baby Boomers (politically savvy, challenge status quo); Gen X (direct communicators, determined); Millennials (collaborators, tech savvy); Gen Z (practical, natural entrepreneurs).

Challenging traits each generation may have that cause conflict with other generations include: Silent (don’t like ambiguity or change); Baby Boomers (less collaborative/may expect everyone to be a workaholic); Gen X (skeptical, dislikes rigid requirements); Millennials (need structure, distaste for menial work); Gen Z (risk averse, prefer virtual communication).


Each generation usually has different values that drive its actions and life view. Values of each generation include: Silent (sacrifice, duty before pleasure); Baby Boomers (equality, personal growth, making a difference); Gen X (independence, informality, practicality); Millennials (sociability, diversity, realism); Gen Z (inclusion, safety, sincerity).

“Millennials value realism and Gen Z sincerity, so, if Farm Bureau as an organization isn’t living up to what we say our values are, they tune out,” Peek said. Things that motivate each generation are: Silent (being respected, recognition); Baby Boomers (being needed/valued, money, teamwork); Gen X (freedom from rules, money/ recognition); Millennials (time off, working with others); Gen Z (getting to display creativity, unique experiences).


Each generation wants different things from their jobs or volunteer involvement. Peek said home ownership was the ultimate achievement for the Silent Generation. Baby Boomers valued job security, so many were workaholics. Gen X saw their parents work a lot, so most prioritize better work-life balance. Millennials seek freedom and flexibility in their jobs, Peek said. Gen Z values job stability and security.

Each generation typically has different views of work, Peek said. Work is an obligation for the Silent Generation, and they respect authority. Baby Boomers have company loyalty and are team players. Gen X are usually more loyal to a profession than one company. Millennials, Peek said, typically want to work with, not for bosses and seek fulfillment from work. Gen Z wants meaningful work and flexible jobs.


Peek encouraged county leaders to be aware of their own tendencies and those of their volunteers. Accept that different generations may not always relate.

“Work to improve your emotional intelligence. Try to perceive what is causing conflict and relate to others constructively,” Peek said. “This may mean not saying things you would like to say.”

Summer 2023 21 Georgia Farm Bureau News
GFB FIELD NOTES The Voice of Georgia Farmers • 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. Experts in crop insurance This institution is an equal opportunity provider and employer.

Mental & Physical Health are Connected

Farmers know difficulty.

Hard work, facing challenges and solving problems are essential traits of the farm mindset.

“You be relentless, you outwork whatever the problem is,” said Sumter County farmer Matt Berry, “But, it’s OK to say this is more than I can handle. The bigger man will admit when he’s got something that he can’t handle.”

The 2023 Farm Stress Summit, held March 20 at Mercer University, shed light on what farm stress is, why it is hard to overcome and what can be done about it.

Keynote speaker Marshal Sewell, a Florida agriculturalist and founder of Mind Your Melon, defines stress this way: “Our body’s reaction to adverse circumstances.”

Just because it’s perceived to be between your ears doesn’t mean it’s not a physical ailment.

“Understand there’s no division between your physical health and your mental health,” said Erin Lepp, an associate professor at Mercer’s College of Health Professions. “Having depression is an independent risk factor for developing heart disease.”

Berry and Lepp were part of a panel discussion on farm stress. Sewell set up Mind Your Melon to be a “hub for thoughts, concepts and resources that contribute to and encourage proactive choices and lifestyles.” The organization’s website,, provides resources for nutrition, exercise & fitness and seeking help. Check out Sewell’s podcast at .

He has intertwined the mental with the physical in part because of stigma that accompanies mental health. Sewell grew up on a Florida fruit farm and lost his father to suicide after a bad crop.

“Asking a farmer to talk to someone about mental health is like getting someone to get off a couch and go straight to running a marathon,” Sewell said.

Smaller steps are necessary. Sewell said he talks to farmers about common-ground topics like farm labor, input costs and other challenges to facilitate farmers opening up about their struggles.

“If this is a catalyst where I can get them to open up and be vulnerable, that’s a step in the right direction,” he said.

The summit included remarks from Georgia Department of

Behavioral Health and Developmental Disabilities (DBHDD)

Commissioner Kevin Tanner.

Tanner said getting help is easier now than it ever has been, noting the rollout last year of the nationwide 988 crisis hotline.

Tanner said it has received significantly more calls in 2022-23 than in previous years.

According to DBHDD, suicides in rural Georgia increased by 12% between 2019 and 2020, but overall suicide rates in Georgia declined during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Tanner emphasized the importance of talking about mental health to chip away at the stigma, and he said he’s working to address “A shortage of mental healthcare workers.”

“There is no wait list for people in crisis,” Tanner said. “We have to be there when people need us.”

22 Summer 2023 Georgia Farm Bureau News
Mental health advocate Marshal Sewell, who grew up on a Florida fruit farm and lost his father to suicide, says talking to farmers about routine topics and then asking how they are may help them to share their struggles./ Photo courtesy of Marshal Sewell Great Hearing. Great Benefits. That Simple. As a member of the Georgia Farm Bureau, you have access to the Great Hearing Benefits (GHB) program. GHB provides family members access to hearing care and hearing aids at discounted rates. • Up to 50% below-MSRP pricing on today’s top hearing aid technology • Free 60-day trial. • 3-year warranty and service plan. • 4,500 nationwide locations for free hearing aid service or repair. • If your hearing aids are lost, stolen or damaged within the first three years, we’ll replace your hearing aids! • Share your benefits with up to three immediate family members. 25% OFFonJabra AudioProducts MemberSavingsStartat Call now to schedule your appointment 1 (877) 684-3329 Summer 2023 23 Fo r t he G ra n dki d You’ll Spoil Every Day I know that life insurance isn’t just about a check it’s about t he cor re ct a m o u n t of c ove ra g e t o p rot e ct yo u r f a m il y, and maintain their standard of living. L CLFPR45446 Contact a Georgia Farm Bureau agent today.

Ag in the Classroom Update Ag Week activities highlight strawberries

On “Ag Literacy Day,” March 23, GFB worked with several partners to create videos to showcase the 2023 American Farm Bureau Foundation Book of the Year, “I LOVE Strawberries” by Shannon Anderson in multiple languages.

You can see Anderson read her book and discuss how strawberries are grown and harvested at If you’d like to hear Liset Romero, with South Fulton County Farm Bureau, read the book in Spanish visit . To see Forsyth County Public Library staff teach students to sign some of the key words of the book visit

Glascock County Farm Bureau Office Manager Meg Williams helped local elementary students celebrate Ag Week by teaching them about the strawberry life cycle, making a strawberry dessert and letting them taste strawberries.

To celebrate farmers and the many contributions they make to our state, Georgia’s agriculture community celebrated March 20-26 as Georgia Ag Week. Each day had a special theme for participants to explore. This year marked the 50th anniversary of National Ag Day.

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.

Georgia Farm Bureau (GFB) provided resources and videos highlighting the featured commodity, strawberries. Approximately 600 teachers, Farm Bureau staff and volunteers used these resources during Ag Week.

Teachers who celebrated Ag Week and posted about it to social media were entered into a drawing for a copy of the book “I LOVE Strawberries” and accompanying educator guide, provided by GFB and a class set of pencils, provided by the Georgia Department of Agriculture.

The “Hands-On Garden Day” video for March 20 featured Laurens County Extension Agent Raymond Joyce demonstrating how to plant strawberries.

The video for March 22, “Ag Hero Day,” introduced students to Justin Long, a Decatur County strawberry farmer. longfarm

Marion County Office Manager Brianna Weber celebrated National Ag Day with second graders at L.K. Moss Elementary. Weber and the students watched a time-lapse video that shows how a strawberry plant grows in 30 days. Weber then helped students plant strawberry plants for their class to observe as they grow.

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 about agriculture.

24 Summer 2023 Georgia Farm Bureau News

GFB Young Farmers & Ranchers back in D.C.

After a three-year hiatus, GFB Young Farmers and Ranchers (YF&R) made their way back to Washington, D.C., March 28-31, for the program’s annual trip that lets participants experience the legislative process and advocate for agriculture firsthand.

This year, 17 YF&R members participated in the four-day program that included meetings with American Farm Bureau Federation (AFBF) staff, the Irish Embassy and a trip to Mt. Vernon. Participants also met with congressional members and staff from the offices of Reps. Rick Allen, Mike Collins and Andrew Clyde and Sens. Raphael Warnock and Jon Ossoff.

YF&R members started their D.C. experience with a tour of AFBF headquarters and an advocacy training session. Members visited AFBF President Zippy Duvall’s office and took in the D.C. skyline from AFBF’s roof. The group enjoyed getting to know each other at supper that evening over good, old-fashioned BBQ.

The next morning AFBF lobbyists briefed the group on ag topics in preparation for visiting Capitol Hill. AFBF staff provided extensive insight into the 2023 farm bill, trade and Waters of the U.S. (WOTUS). After the briefings, YF&R members made their way to the Hill for congressional visits.

The day was packed with meetings, picture ops in front of the U.S. Capitol, lunch and a visit to the Irish Embassy. After a day of congressional visits with representatives, the group took a two-hour night tour of the Capitol hosted by Rep. Austin Scott.

“This was my first trip to D.C. While I wouldn’t want to live there, I have a new appreciation for our lawmakers and how they work for us as farmers,” said GFB YF&R Committee Chairman Colt Hart.

On the third day of the trip, the group traveled to Mt. Vernon to visit George and Martha Washington’s estate. This gave the group a historical view of the importance of agriculture in our nation’s history.

“The YF&R trip to D.C. was a great experience! It was an eye opener being able to meet face to face with our representatives and see what they do every day. They truly wanted to hear the challenges we face in Georgia Agriculture,” said YF&R member and Taliaferro County President Tucker West.

In the afternoon, some attendees went to opening day for the Braves as they played the Washington Nationals in D.C.

“Being able to meet other Young Farmers from across the state helped me build life-long connections,” West said.

Georgia Farm Bureau Leadership Programs 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.

Summer 2023 25 Georgia Farm Bureau News YF&R Update
GFB Young Farmers & Ranchers visited the Irish Embassy in D.C. where they discussed trade issues with the embassy ag attaché. Visit to see more photos. Photo by Logan Thomas

Women's Leadership Program Update GFB Developing Ag Leaders

The Georgia Farm Bureau Women’s Leadership and Young Farmers & Ranchers Committees have been busy providing programming to develop leaders and volunteers statewide. For the second year, the committees held a Legislative Drive-In the day before GFB Day at the Capitol. Thirty YF&R and WLC members from across Georgia attended the event on Feb. 13 to prepare participants to discuss ag issues with their state legislators. At the Drive-In, AFBF Sr. Director of Advocacy and Political Management Randy Dwyer held a simulation during which participants were divided into teams and experienced a legislative session as an elected official. Teams had to consider time, budget, constituents, political party, issues and other factors when making decisions and voting on legislation.

GFB President Tom McCall greeted and addressed the group.

GFB Governmental Affairs Specialist Jake Matthews covered ag topics including truck weights, soil amendments, Waters of the U.S. and other ag-related issues legislators considered during the 2023 legislative session. WLC and YF&R Drive-In attendees put the training they received into action during GFB Day at the Capitol Feb. 14.

Members of the GFB Women’s Leadership and Young Farmer Committees also attended the American Farm Bureau FUSION Conference in Jacksonville, Fla., March 3-6.

FUSION stands for “Farmers United: Skills, Inspiration, Outreach and Networking.” The conference is designed for Farm

Bureau members serving on county Young Farmer, Women’s Leadership, and Promotion & Education committees.

“The FUSION Conference is a unique opportunity to energize our WLC by interacting with Farm Bureau members from across the country,” said WLC Chairman Kathy Sanders. “We listened to motivational speakers, engaged in breakout sessions, attended tours, exchanged ideas, and gained knowledge from our new friends!”

WLC members attending the FUSION Conference were Chairman Kathy Sanders (Dist. 6), Vice Chairman Melanie Hendrix (Dist. 7), Dist. 1 Chair Andrea Sims, Dist. 5 Chair Amy Moncrief, Dist. 8 Chair Vickie Brown, and Dist. 9 Chair Julie Hardy. YF&R members attending were Chairmen Colt & LeAnna Hart (Dist. 2), Vice Chairman Anna Leigh Peek (Dist. 3), Dist. 9 Chairs Colt & Camille Calhoun, and Dist. 10 Chairs Ryan & Kelsie Highsmith.

These committee members attended workshops on AFBF’s four major focus areas: consumer outreach, member value, advocacy, outreach/education, and leadership development. They will utilize what they learned in their role as district chairs to support and assist county Farm Bureau committees.

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 get involved with your local WLC Committee.

26 Summer 2023 Georgia Farm Bureau News
GFB Women’s Leadership Committee members attending the AFBF FUSION Conference were, from left, Chairman Kathy Sanders, Julie Hardy, Vickie Brown, Andrea Sims & Committee Vice Chairman Melanie Hendrix. Photo by Anna Leigh Peek

Jodi Morgan, seated, far right, & Melanie Hendrix, standing, second from right, completed the 18th AFBF Communications Boot Camp. / Photo courtesy of AFBF.

Hendrix, Morgan Graduate from AFBF Communication Bootcamp

Congratulations to Cherokee County and Evans County Farm Bureau members

Jodi Morgan and Melanie Hendrix on graduating from the American Farm Bureau Federation Women’s Communications Boot Camp! Hendrix and Morgan completed hands-on training related to public speaking, working with the media and ag policy messaging during the program held April 3-6 in Washington, D.C. Hendrix, who represents Georgia Farm Bureau’s 7th District on the GFB Women’s Leadership Committee, raises commercial beef cattle and hay. Morgan volunteers with CCFB’s Ag in the Classroom Program and is the Southeastern Grasslands Institute youth outreach coordinator. They were two of 15 Farm Bureau members from across the U.S. to complete the 18th AFBF Communications Boot Camp.

Looking for Farm Dogs

Farmers have until July 14 to enter their canine companions in the 2024 Farm Bureau Farm Dog of the Year Contest. Four dogs will win cash prizes. This is the sixth year American Farm Bureau has held the contest, supported by Purina.

The grand prize winner receives a year’s worth of Purina Pro Plan dog food and $5,000. The top dog will be recognized at the AFBF Convention in Salt Lake City, Utah, next January. Up to three regional runnersup will each win $1,000.

Desired attributes include helpfulness to the farmer and his/her family, playfulness and obedience. Dog owners must be Farm Bureau members to enter their dogs. Visit to join Farm Bureau if you aren’t a member. Eligibility guidelines and submission requirements are available at To nominate your dog, you’ll answer a questionnaire and submit at least one still photo and a video clip (optional).

The People’s Choice Pup social media contest lets the public vote on contestants. Profiles of nominated dogs will be shared on AFBF social platforms in October, with the public invited to vote. The winner gets $1,000 from Purina.

Summer 2023 27 Georgia Farm Bureau News

FOUNDATION FOR AG Awards Scholarships

The Georgia Foundation for Agriculture (GFA) is excited to name the 24 students it has selected to receive a total of $70,000 in scholarships for the 2023-2024 academic year. GFA scholarships are awarded to students who 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 2023-24 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 are listed below.


Ten students planning to enter college this fall at Fort Valley State University (FVSU), Abraham Baldwin Agricultural College (ABAC) and the UGA College of Agricultural & Environmental Sciences (CAES) were awarded scholarships of $3,000 each: Jane Ashely Rowell, Coffee County; Elizabeth Sanders, Dodge County; Willow Waldrep, Monroe County; Ariana Collins, So. Fulton County; Lawson Mercer, Emanuel County; Payne Murphree, Early County; Jack Pringle, Henry County; Thomas Raley, Glascock County; Adam Stone, Carroll County; and Haigen Walker, Irwin County. The top three candidates –Rowell, Sanders and Waldrep– each received an additional $1,000. These 10 students plan to pursue degrees in ag education, animal science, ag engineering, plant science, poultry science, avian biology and biological sciences.


Kiley Padgett, Hall County; Larson Newsome, Lee County; Addie Pierce, Barrow County; and Maley Dawkins, Franklin County were each selected to receive a $1,500 scholarship to attend North Georgia Technical College, South Georgia Technical College and Athens Technical College. These students plan to pursue biology, modern agriculture, robotics and veterinary technology degrees. The top two candidates –Padgett and Newsome– each received an additional $500.


The foundation awarded ten $2,000 scholarships to these rising college juniors and seniors: Drew Hart, Bulloch County; Lexi Cindrick, Troup County; Bailee Tracy, Harris County; Emily Arp, Baldwin County; Gracie Grimes, Candler County; Hannah Williams, Telfair County; Katlyn Davis, Effingham County; Sage Barlow, Fayette County; Sarah Beth Kersey, Emanuel County; and Tyler Hunter, Bulloch County.

The students plan to attend UGA CAES and ABAC in the fall and are studying ag engineering, ag education, animal science, ag communications, pre-veterinary, and poultry science.


Joy Thompson, Fannin County and Morgan Rowan, Lowndes 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. Visit to learn more about the foundation’s programs or to make a tax-deductible donation. Instructions for applying for the 2024-25 scholarships will be posted on the GFA website this fall.

28 Summer 2023 GEORGIA

Children’s Ag Books at Public Libraries

For the sixth 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 “I Love Strawberries” by Shannon Anderson to present to all public libraries in its county on behalf of the GFA and Georgia EMC. This book introduces readers to Jolie, who sets out to grow her own strawberries and writes a comical journal about the experience. 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: “How to Grow a Monster,” about growing zucchini; “John Deere, That’s Who!,” about the man 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 products the carmaker made 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.

Brooks County Farm Bureau Office Manager Robbie Hiers, left, and Colquitt EMC Director of Public Relations Sonja Aldridge, right, present a copy of “I Love Strawberries” to Scott Routsong, director of the Brooks County Library, on behalf of Georgia Foundation for Agriculture and Georgia EMC.

GFB Day at the Braves a Hit!

April 23 was a beautiful day at Truist Park for Georgia Farm Bureau Day at the Braves. Although the Atlanta Braves fell to the Houston Astros, 5-2, GFB guests had fun! GFB fans turned out in record numbers buying 1,006 tickets to raise $10,060 for the Georgia Foundation for Agriculture (GFA). GFA ticket sales accounted for 2.422% of the 41,530 people attending the game.

Some GFB members attending the game made signs to highlight the contributions farmers make to our lives. USDA statistics show only 1.05% of America’s population are farmers, so this event was a great venue to educate consumers about agriculture.

Visit to see more photos from the event. To learn more about the foundation’s mission or to make a donation to support its many programs, please visit

Aubrey Jacobs’ poster highlighted what agriculture contributes to baseball. /Photo by Taylor Hartley

Summer 2023 29
Photo courtesy of BCFB

Farm Bureau Safety Events AIM


In 2021, workers in the agriculture, forestry, fishing and hunting industry experienced one of the highest fatal injury rates at 20 deaths per 100,000 full-time workers, compared to a rate of 3.6 deaths per 100,000 workers for all U.S. industries, according to the CDC. Transportation incidents, which include tractor overturns and roadway crashes, were the leading cause of death for farmers and farm workers.

This spring, Sumter County Farm Bureau and GFB Young Farmers & Ranchers Committee 2nd Dist. Representative Colt Hart organized safety events for their regions to decrease these numbers.


Four-year-old Lane Aldridge took the pilot seat in the Air Evac Lifeteam Bell 260 helicopter, under the watchful eye of pilot Don Heironimus. The boy’s face lit up at the sight of all the switches, knobs and gauges aviation has to offer. The controls and the view through the chopper’s bubble windshield had the full attention of Aldridge, during the Sumter County Farm Safety Day in Americus.

To be sure, Sumter County Farm Bureau (SCFB), which hosted

the event March 17, wanted it to be an attention-getter that might prevent an accident, sidestep an injury or save a life.

The event at the Sumter County Fairgrounds addressed stress (human and bovine), accident prevention and rescue operations in hopes that area farmers would come away with increased awareness on safety topics.

“Every year we have farm-related accidents,” said SCFB President Matt Berry, who organized the event. “My goal is for somebody to leave here with a different perspective that will help change that. If we save one person from an accident or a death or injury, then we’ve won what we’re after.”

Organizers shared a video message from South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem, whose father died in a grain bin entrapment incident, and Sumter County Fire and Rescue personnel staged a demonstration of a grain entrapment rescue.

UGA Extension Southwest Health Agent Jennifer Dunn presented information about managing farm stress. Dunn talked about ways people cope with stress – some healthy, some not –and shared how breath control can help in stressful situations.

Dunn said studies have shown that deep breaths can shift the portion of the brain controlling behavior from the “fight-orflight” portion of the nervous system to the more rational, higherfunctioning thought center (prefrontal cortex). One approach, endorsed by the Navy SEALs, is called box breathing, in which the individual inhales for four seconds, exhales for four seconds, inhales for four seconds, exhales for four seconds, and so on.

UGA Animal & Dairy Science Farm Manager Andy Dunn demonstrated how to prompt cattle to move without causing them stress by using the animals’ flight zones, areas in relation to their bodies that, when entered, prompt them to move away.

South Georgia Technical College Commercial Truck Driving Instructor Robert Cook and Georgia Motor Carrier Compliance Division Lt. Jonathan Schwendinger chatted with participants about road safety and rules pertaining to tractor-trailer rigs transporting farm goods.

Jim Reid of Reid Brothers Irrigation presented information on electrical and irrigation pivot safety.

Air Evac representative Laine Lee shared information about the company’s emergency evacuation operations, targeted at rescuing medical emergency victims from remote areas. Farm Bureau members get a discount on Air Evac subscription fees.

30 Summer 2023 Georgia Farm Bureau News
UGA Animal & Dairy Science Farm Manager Andy Dunn demonstrates how to move cattle without causing them stress, thereby protecting the farmer from potential injury. /Photo by Jay Stone


Twenty-two volunteer firefighters gathered March 24-26 for a Farm Machinery Rescue Training held by Georgia Farm Bureau’s Second District with training led by the Tennessee Association of Rescue Squads (TNARS). Attendees were able to earn 16 continuing education hours while being trained in the classroom and on the ground in numerous farm rescue drills. Scenarios included those with a hay baler, tractor, combine, and skid steer.

“Statistically speaking, agriculture has been one of the top three most dangerous occupations for many years,” said Brian Robinson, TNARS training coordinator.

Robinson encourages farmers to pre-plan just like emergency responders do.

“Take a walk around the shop, farm, barn, equipment etc. and see what hazards are there or could be potential hazards,” he said.

Robinson also advises farmers to work with neighbors and family members on a plan in the event of an emergency.

“A lot of times a neighbor or family member will be called to assist and no one remembers to contact 911. Calling 911 first, then going to render aid gets the emergency response wheels in motion,” Robinson said.

It’s important to be prepared for an emergency, Robinson said. Simple things Robinson suggests farmers do to be prepared include labeling containers with their contents, knowing eye wash procedures and having clean water close, having your charged cell phone nearby or having a charger in the equipment. It’s also important to let someone know where you’ll be working on the farm and your expected time of arrival/departure.

“Another simple thing for someone who has multiple chicken houses is to label or paint a number on each house so responders can go directly to the incident when they arrive, instead of driving around trying to figure out which house the victim is in,” said Robinson.

Robinson encourages anyone interested in hosting a similar training to visit

Volunteer firefighters in Northeast Georgia learn how to rescue farmers injured in farm machinery accidents during an event GFB's  District 2 held in March. Photo Courtesy of TNARS

Summer 2023 31 Georgia Farm Bureau News

Ke e p ing t he P romise , N o M a t te r t he S torm .

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page 31

Farm Bureau Safety Events AIM

page 30

GFB Day at the Braves a Hit!

pages 29-30

Children’s Ag Books at Public Libraries

page 29

FOUNDATION FOR AG Awards Scholarships

page 28

Looking for Farm Dogs

page 27

Hendrix, Morgan Graduate from AFBF Communication Bootcamp

page 27

Women's Leadership Program Update GFB Developing Ag Leaders

pages 26-27

GFB Young Farmers & Ranchers back in D.C.

page 25

Ag in the Classroom Update Ag Week activities highlight strawberries

page 24

Mental & Physical Health are Connected

pages 22-23


pages 20-21

Crop Damage Permits Help Farmers Control Deer

pages 18-19


pages 16-17

ATHENS TECH DEDICATES McCall Agricultural Science Complex

page 15

GFB celebrates GA Junior National Livestock Champions

page 14

& Ga. FSA Committee Named

page 13


page 13

Parker joins GFB Public Policy staff

page 12

General Assembly Passes Truck Weight Variance

page 11


page 10

What’s in the farm bill?

pages 8-9

View from the Field

pages 4-7


page 3
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