GFB News Winter 2022

Page 1

Economy impacts ag GA-FIT protecting farmers & streams USDA Poultry Lab updated

News Vol. 84 No.4 Winter 2022 GEORGIA FARM BUREAU
FORD SUPER DUTY FORD F-150 FORD RANGER FORD MAVERICK Computer-generated image with available features shown. *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 We value our long-standing partnership with Farm Bureau and are proud to offer this exclusive members reward. ON AN ELIGIBLE NEW MAVERICK ™ , RANGER ® , F-150 ® OR SUPER DUTY ® EXCLUSIVE CASH REWARD*

pages 6 & 7

Livestock team unites Polk County Agriculture students from four schools put school rivalries aside for love of showing cattle.

pages 8 & 9

GA-FIT working to protect farmers & streams

The Georgia Flow Incentive Trust is offering two programs for Southwest Georgia farmers. Dec. 15 is deadline for farmers to apply for deep water well cost share program. Farmers may submit bids Feb. 20-24 to be paid to reduce crop irrigation.

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 12 & 13

Scenes from Sunbelt Expo Highlights from the 2022 Sunbelt Agricultural Exposition.

page 14

Morgan Co., UGA teams win Expo/GFB Advocacy contest

pages 16 & 17

Georgia National Fair honors outgoing Ag

Commissioner Black GFB introduced Lucky to fair goers. Fair set second-highest attendance record.

pages 18 & 19

USDA Southeast Poultry Lab updated for 21st Century

page 11

GFB presents commodity award to Guthrie

pages 20 & 21

Economic woes impact Ga. agriculture


page 4

View from the Field

Public Policy page 5 pages 23 & 24

Ag in the Classroom

pages 26 & 27

Ga. Foundation for Agriculture

GFB News Staff

Kenny Burgamy Director

Jennifer Whittaker Editor

Jay Stone News Reporter

Jared McGukin Graphic Designer Logan Thomas Photographer

page 22

Farm Service Agency offers more than loans

Did you know the FSA offers grants to help schools establish or expand existing ag programs and loans to help students buy livestock to show?

Labor Day rains flood parts of Chattooga County

Rushing water pushed over soybean plants in this field.

page 30 page 31

Georgia farms honored for longevity Centennial Farm Awards announced.


On The Cover:

Polk County Show Team member Eli Morgan walks his heifer at Georgia National Fair.

Photo by Logan Thomas

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

Winter 2022 3 Georgia Farm Bureau News

View from the Field

Tom McCall, GFB President

It seems hard to believe that we just celebrated Thanksgiving and our annual convention has arrived. This year has moved at a rapid pace!

The 85th Annual Georgia Farm Bureau Convention on Jekyll Island will be held Dec. 4–6, where we will complete our important policy development process.

Gov. Brian Kemp is scheduled to address our convention attendees in a matter of days. It seems like the right time to congratulate Gov. Kemp on his reelection to the state’s highest office. The governor has done so much for agriculture and rural Georgia. Just saying thank you and “keep choppin’” doesn’t seem like enough.

Also, let’s applaud our Agriculture Commissioner-elect Tyler Harper. Tyler worked hard to earn your support and he spent a lot of windshield time crisscrossing the state to meet the voters in just about every county, if not all of them.

That brings me to the gratitude we all owe Commissioner Gary Black for his service to our industry. He helped keep farming in Georgia safe and moving forward. Because of his vision, the Georgia Department of Agriculture is solid and well-branded through Georgia Grown.

As Gary leaves his post, we wish him and Lydia a healthy, happy retirement.

It goes without saying that when we count our blessings around the McCall household this time of year, family always comes first, but we don’t stop there. There is a special place for our faith, flag, farm, and our friends.

While we’re at the convention, we’ll celebrate being connected to the number one industry in our state and hope to show our appreciation to all of you for supporting the mission of Farm Bureau in so many ways.

As harvest ends and we enter the Christmas season, we have so much to be thankful for this year. That statement rings true for us, and I know for you, too. Thank you for allowing Jane, my family, and me to serve you. Merry Christmas!



TOM McCALL, Elbert Co. 1st Vice President

and South Georgia Vice President

DANIEL JOHNSON, Pierce Co. 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 RACHEL MOSELY


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.


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.

4 Winter 2022 Georgia Farm Bureau News

Public Policy Update

GFB’s legislative success depends on member involvement

This time of year, farmers are looking forward. Looking forward as they make plans for next year’s crop. Looking forward at the markets and how to grow their farms. Looking forward to emerging technologies and practices they can implement to be more productive and efficient.

For 85 years, Georgia Farm Bureau (GFB) members have remained the voice of agriculture and our rural communities by looking forward, growing and adapting to meet new challenges. This is only possible because we are a true grassroots organization, and our policies and priorities originate from those that know agriculture best - our members.

In December delegates from across the state will travel to Jekyll Island for GFB’s 85th Annual Convention where they will ratify our 2023 policy book. GFB policy undergoes a thorough review during a multi-month process, which exemplifies the grassroots nature of our organization.

Our policy development process began in August at the GFB Commodity Conference and county Farm Bureau meetings where members submitted new policy ideas addressing issues they face on the farm. These resolutions were then debated and considered during two October meetings by the GFB Policy Development (PD) Committee.

The PD Committee consists of 30 county presidents or vice presidents, the GFB Board of Directors, our 20 GFB Commodity Advisory Committee chairmen, and Georgia members of AFBF’s Issue Advisory Committees. Collectively, committee members represent every commodity and corner of the state.

Committee members consider each resolution, making any necessary additions or amendments prior to approval. The resulting document is then presented to GFB voting delegates at convention for final approval, establishing our policy for the upcoming year that will guide our positions on local, state, or national issues.

Our work does not end there, however. Farm Bureau’s direction may come from our policy, but our success depends on our members. We rely on our members to be engaged in the legislative process and build relationships with their elected officials.

This year, the passage of the Freedom to Farm Act demonstrated just how influential Georgia Farm Bureau can be when unified and focused on a goal. This legislation would not have passed without the coordinated efforts of our members, county leadership, GFB Board of Directors, Women’s Leadership Committee, and Young Farmers & Ranchers Committee stepping up to make their voices heard—from the county to the capitol.

Georgia Farm Bureau works to facilitate these efforts by equipping our members with the necessary resources and opportunities to be strong advocates for agriculture. At almost every conference we hold for our members, we discuss ways you can effectively engage with your elected officials and community to promote farm-friendly policies.

We look forward to continuing to work with you to cultivate the success of agriculture for the next 85 years. Please contact your county Farm Bureau to get involved with its legislative efforts. If you’re already involved – thank you!

Alex Bradford is director of the Georgia Farm Bureau Public Policy Department.

He may be reached at or 478-474-8411, ext. 5287.

Winter 2022 5 Georgia Farm Bureau News
GFB voting delegates approve the organization’s policy each December at our annual convention. Photo by Jennifer Whittaker

Livestock team unites Polk County

Geography and football have long divided Polk County. Folks on the east side gravitate to the Rockmart Yellow Jackets. People in the west support the Cedartown Bulldogs.

Now, county residents are putting their gridiron rivalries aside to unite behind the Polk County Show Team. It consists of ag students from Cedartown and Rockmart middle schools and both high schools who share a love of showing cows.

Cattle producers Glenn and Laura Robinson live in the middle of the county. When Glenn joined the Polk County Cattlemen’s Association (PCCA) in 2001, it had about 15 active members attending chapter meetings. When he became president in 2009, Glenn worked to increase membership, which has since increased to more than 220 members.

“There were no young people in our association when I first joined our cattlemen’s chapter, so I concentrated on getting young people involved,” Glenn said.

In 2016, Madison Atkins and Savannah Norman, Junior PCCA Chapter members, asked Glenn if he would help them start a show team for students. Both had been FFA members in high school, Atkins at Cedartown and Norman at Rockmart, but neither showed cattle until college.

“I showed bulls at Berry College and really enjoyed it. The idea behind the project was we wanted kids without the ability to keep a calf at home or without the money to buy one to be able to experience showing,” Norman recalled. “We asked the Robinsons because they have always been passionate about helping children get involved in agriculture. I knew they had entered their calves in the fair previously.” The show team drew 12 kids its first year. For the team’s first couple of years, the Robinsons provided calves and feed for kids who didn’t have cattle but wanted to show. Team members trained and groomed their calves at the Robinsons’ farm.

6 Winter 2022 Georgia Farm Bureau News
Cedartown Middle Schooler Emilee Lewis with Shadow, her Angus heifer donated by Running Wild Farm. Photo by Jennifer Whittaker Members of the Polk County Show Team work together to groom a teammate’s heifer before it heads to the show ring. Photo by Jennifer Whittaker

Laura taught the kids about cattle breeds and how cattle are judged. Retired Extension Director Rick Ensley also helped with coaching.

By 2019, interest in the show team had grown so much the Robinsons decided it was time for the county FFA program to take over. Polk County had increased funding for its ag programs, hired multiple ag teachers and built an ag center at Rockmart High used by all Polk FFA students showing livestock.


Now, the Polk County School District runs the show team like a sports program. The team has 24 spots for students at the middle or high schools. All interested students and their parents must attend an orientation meeting in February to learn what’s involved in showing.

To join the team, each student must raise $1,000 in sponsorships to help meet the program’s $67,000 budget. Students must also commit to spending time at the county livestock barn caring for, halter breaking and grooming their cattle. They must also participate in practices and certain shows.

About 16 local cattle producers donate cattle the students show. The county’s six ag teachers visit the farms in July to select cattle 5 to 10 months old. Once the cattle are housed at the livestock barn, students start preparing their cattle for county fair shows held in the area before heading to Perry for the Georgia National Fair in October.

In February, after the show season is over, the Polk County FFA program auctions the team’s cattle with proceeds going back into the team budget.

“Most of our kids couldn’t afford to do this if it weren’t for the producers donating their cattle and the agribusinesses and people who sponsor the kids. We’re very appreciative of the local support we get,” Polk County Young Farmer Advisor Jeff Hawkins said. “We try to make it fun for the farmers who donate their animals by awarding a breeder of the year trophy that goes to the producer who scores the most points based on cumulative placings at all the shows the cattle compete at. That’s become a fun competition.”


This is the second year Cedartown Middle Schooler Emilee Lewis has been a team member.

“I got into this because my dad showed cows when he was young, and I always thought that was cool,” Emilee said. “The hardest thing about showing is in the beginning when you’re halter breaking them.”

Emilee says her Angus heifer, Shadow, likes to show her she’s the boss when they practice but “does good at shows.” The pair won the Coosa Valley Fair 6th Grade Showmanship prize and a showmanship prize at the Polk County Fair.

Emilee’s dad, Todd said, “I think it’s important for young people to be part of a team and learn how to support others. As a parent it’s amazing to me that these farms donate these calves. We’re grateful to them and Emilee’s sponsors.”

Rockmart Middle Schooler Eli Morgan has shown for three years and has shown his British White heifer, Peppermint Patty, with the team the past two years.

“I just like being around cows,” Eli answered when asked why he shows.

Eli’s dad, Drenn Morgan, who raises cattle, is proud to be a team coach.

“I’d like the world to know a countywide team does exist and what the team is doing for our kids,” Drenn said. “Last year, six of the team members went to the Georgia Jr. National on their own to show.”

Robinson remains involved with the team.

“Anything we need from Mr. Glenn, he’s there for us,” Hawkins said. “His truck and trailer goes to every show hauling cattle along with the truck and trailer the school system bought us.”

Winter 2022 7 Georgia Farm Bureau News
The Polk County Show Team members, county ag teachers and community coaches had a blast showing at the Georgia National Fair in October. Photo by Jennifer Whittaker


The Georgia Water Planning and Policy Center (GWPPC) is preparing for the second year of a pilot program designed to protect Southwest Georgia farmers, the regional economy and environment. As part of the Georgia Flow Incentive Trust (GA-FIT), the GWPPC at Albany State University will accept bids Feb. 20-24, 2023, from farmers in the Ichawaynochaway Creek Watershed to voluntarily reduce their irrigation water use during the 2023 growing season.

Funded initially through a grant from the Robert W. Woodruff Foundation, GA-FIT launched in 2021 to develop and test strategies for drought management through a voluntary, incentivebased framework. The project capitalizes on more than two decades of data collection, water resource assessments, regional planning and policy development. GWPPC Director Mark Masters credits these investments and widespread conservation practices adopted by Georgia farmers for laying the foundation for these innovative policy discussions.

“We have been able to document over the last 1015 years that farmers are really good at applying the right amount of water at the right time to maximize the benefit to their crops,” Masters said. “They’ve got highly efficient irrigation infrastructure in place and their adoption of advanced irrigation scheduling and other watersaving practices continues to increase.”

Masters also stressed the importance of the agricultural metering program, not only as confirmation of Georgia’s stewardship, but as a tool to help evaluate future alternatives.

GA-FIT was developed to inform possible next steps for managing Southwest Georgia water withdrawals. Masters says the Ichawaynochaway

Watershed was chosen for the pilot project because it has a good mix of surface and ground water sources used for irrigation and long-term monitoring of streamflow and natural systems.

In March, farmers in the Ichawaynochaway were able to bid on three voluntary programs to reduce their irrigation water use for a per-acre payment. The 2022 contracts offered a full suspension option like the original Flint River Drought Protection Act; an option to use up to six inches of water per acre through the end of the year; and an option to suspend irrigation for the rest of the year if the creek fell below a specific streamflow threshold. Using an on-line auction platform developed by GA-FIT, farmers entered their bids - the amount they would be willing to accept for each of the three options - on as many of their fields as they were interested in submitting. While still a research project, GA-FIT executed real contracts with the winning bidders in exchange for real payments.

At the end of the week-long auction, 87 farmers, about half the irrigators in the watershed, submitted bids on over 19,000 acres. Masters credits the high level of participation to a strong outreach program, farmers understanding the importance of water management, and because the pilot was not just a hypothetical exercise.

“All in all, it was an extraordinarily successful study, and one that we hope to replicate again next year,” Masters said.

The GA-FIT team ultimately executed contracts with farmers for the third voluntary reduction option, the standby option. Under the terms of the contract, participating farmers were paid an up-front “standby fee” of $35 per acre. They agreed to suspend all irrigation on contracted acres if the stream gage at Milford, Ga., fell below a seven-day

8 Winter 2022

- Mark Masters

average of 50 cubic feet per second (cfs), which would trigger the additional peracre payment (their bid).

This streamflow level serves as a general indicator of conditions throughout the watershed and is likely to occur only in times of drought. The Ichawaynochaway has fallen below this metric only eight times since 1990, none in the last eight years.

When farmers placed their bids last winter, Georgia was on track to get a normal amount of rainfall in 2022 through September, according to the National Weather Service. But during May and June, large portions of South

Farmers in the Ichawaynochaway Creek Watershed (parts of Randolph, Terrell, Calhoun, Dougherty, Early, Baker & Miller counties), can place bids to be compensated for voluntarily reducing their water use during the 2023 growing season. /

Georgia experienced drought conditions. Masters said the irrigation suspension contracts came close to kicking in as flows approached 50 cfs at Milford near the end of June.

“This year (2022) turned out to be a very good year to do this,” Masters said. “While we didn’t have to execute the suspensions, the growing season reminded us how quickly drought impacts can occur and reinforced the importance of these policy discussions.”

The 2023 GA-FIT auction will take place Feb. 20-24, 2023. Farmers in the Ichawaynochaway Creek Watershed interested in participating can visit www. .


The sign-up period for a new cost-share program for irrigation wells in Southwest Georgia is open until Dec. 15. The Drought Source Water Alternatives Program (SWAP) is another GA-FIT project designed to help farmers in the Lower Flint River Basin to install deep aquifer wells to replace their use of surface water for irrigation during droughts.

The program will support about 240 wells being drilled over the next four years by providing a 90% cost share to irrigators in the project area.

Drought SWAP funding will also provide groundwater monitoring, technical and policy work needed to support development of a Habitat Conservation Plan. There are multiple species of mussels

in the Flint River Basin that the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has designated as endangered or threatened.

“The most certainty we can get for farmers in the Lower Flint, in terms of endangered species, likely comes in the form of a Habitat Conservation Plan,” Masters said.

Drought SWAP is funded by a $49.8 million grant from the Governor’s Office of Planning and Budget via allocations from the American Recovery Plan Act for infrastructure development. Administered by the GWPPC, GA-FIT has a diverse stakeholder advisory committee along with input from the Georgia Environmental Protection Division, Golden Triangle RC&D, Nature Conservancy and UGA.

Continued next page

For more information, visi, send an email to, call 229-430-2900 or scan this QR Code.

Winter 2022 9 Georgia Farm Bureau News
"We have been able to document over the last 10-15 years that farmers are really good at applying the right amount of water at the right time..."
Photo by Jennifer Whittaker


Continued from previous page.

The Georgia Legislature approved the Flint River Drought Protection Act (FRDPA) in 2000 to allow the state to compensate farmers for voluntarily suspending all irrigation on approved acres for an entire growing season.

The law calls for the director of the Georgia Environmental Protection Division to determine whether a drought declaration is warranted by March 1 each year. In years when drought is declared, farmers in the Flint River Basin could voluntarily submit bids for contracts to refrain from irrigating.

Georgia Farm Bureau President Tom McCall, who at the time was the state representative from House District 90 of the Georgia legislature, was one of the law’s sponsors. The law’s legacy, he says, is that it was one of the first steps to developing our state water plan.

“The theory of what it was supposed to do as far as affecting stream flows was good, and it was all we had back then,” McCall said. “The biggest thing it did was make folks start thinking about irrigation efficiency and that we need policy to protect stream flows not only for endangered species, not only for farmers, but for everybody else that uses the stream.”

The FRDPA has not been implemented since the 2002 growing season. The GA-FIT pilot expands on the FRDPA by giving farmers additional options for reducing their water use during drought.

Farmers in any of the green areas shown on this map have until Dec. 15 to apply for the Drought SWAP costshare program to replace surface water sources with deep aquifer wells.

10 Winter 2022 Georgia Farm Bureau News

GFB presents commodity award to Guthrie

Dr. Larry Guthrie is the 2022 Georgia Farm Bureau (GFB) Commodity Award recipient. Guthrie, who retired as a professor in the UGA Animal and Dairy Science Program in 1999, has worked to advance dairy science and practices in Georgia for more than 50 years.

The GFB Board of Directors selects the award recipient from nominees submitted by the organizations’ commodity advisory committees. Guthrie was nominated by the GFB Dairy and Beef Committees.

“Dr. Guthrie worked diligently to help Georgia dairy farmers develop protocol to advance into the 21st century,” GFB Dairy Committee Chairman Joel Keith said. “Through his guidance and interest, our industry has made great strides. Plus, he has mentored countless youth in education and leadership through his involvement with 4-H and FFA.”

Guthrie grew up on his family’s livestock farm in Alabama. He earned his bachelor’s degree at McNeese State University in Louisiana, his master’s degree in ruminant nutrition from Auburn University and his Ph.D. in ruminant nutrition from Louisiana State University (LSU). He was recruited to UGA in 1977 as an animal and dairy science professor.

At UGA, Guthrie was responsible for educational programs and outreach to producers through Extension related to cattle nutrition, herd management, rearing replacement heifers, and 4-H dairy youth education. He also conducted research and taught college classes.

In 1997, Guthrie began the Georgia Commercial Dairy Heifer Show, which has introduced more than 6,000 youth, most from nonfarm families, to the dairy industry. Students borrow unregistered heifers from local dairies, which they raise and train to show.

Guthrie and his wife, Rachel, live in Watkinsville and have two children, Dr. Larry Guthrie Jr. and Rochelle Guthrie Edmonds.

Winter 2022 11 Georgia Farm Bureau News THOMAS  JOSHUA  MATTHEW  For your reforestation seedlings, call: Bell Brothers, Inc. Advance Cycle Bareroot Seedlings Office: 912.739.2273 E-mail:
GFB President Tom McCall presents the 2022 GFB Commodity Award to Dr. Larry Guthrie. Photo by Logan Thomas


Georgia Sunbelt Expo Farmer of the Year Scotty Raines, right, with Sunbelt Executive Director Chip Blalock. Raines was introduced along with nine other state winners at the Sunbelt Willie B. Withers luncheon on Oct. 18.

Scenes from Sunbelt Expo

Highlights from the 2022 Sunbelt Agricultural Exposition held Oct. 18-20 in Moultrie. Visit for more Expo coverage


From left, Alabama Farmers Federation President Jimmy Parnell, American Farm Bureau Federation President Zippy Duvall & Georgia Farm Bureau President Tom McCall squared off in the annual Sunbelt milking contest. Duvall, a former dairy farmer, collected the most milk to win.

12 Winter 2022 Georgia Farm Bureau News
Photo by Logan Thomas


Telfair County peanut grower Leslie Jones urged drivers to be patient when they get behind farmers driving equipment on the road. Jones spoke during the Yield Behind the Wheel press conference the Georgia Governor’s Office of Highway Safety held Oct. 19.


Sunbelt Expo’s harvest demonstrations, hosted on the Darrell Williams Research Farm, gave visitors a firsthand look at new farm equipment in use. Here, a Vermeer TE3310 hay tedder fluffs hay as part of the harvest demonstrations.


Georgia Grown Chef Olivia Radner gave cooking demos daily in the Georgia Agriculture Building. Here she prepares her Rainbow Winter Slaw recipe featuring apples, beets, carrots, radishes, green onions & pecans. You can find it at


Becca Falke, Miss United States Agriculture for Marion County, Fla., gets an autograph from NASCAR Cup Series driver Todd Gilliland #38, whose car is sponsored by the Georgia Peanut Commission.

Winter 2022 13 Georgia Farm Bureau News
Photo Photo Photo by Jennifer Whittaker Photo by Jennifer Whittaker

Morgan Co., UGA teams win Expo/GFB Advocacy contest

College and high school students competing in the Advocacy in Action event, held Oct. 19 at Sunbelt Expo, experienced what it’s like to be an ag lobbyist.

Morgan County High School (MCHS) FFA prevailed over Crisp County High School (CCHS) FFA and Villa Rica FFA from Carroll County for top honors in the contest’s high school division. The UGA College of Agricultural & Environmental Sciences team beat Auburn and Abraham Baldwin Agricultural College in the collegiate division.

Georgia Farm Bureau (GFB) sponsored the 2nd annual contest to prepare the next generation of ag advocates.

As they traveled the Expo grounds meeting with Georgia Rep. Sam Watson, Georgia Peanut Commission Executive Director Don Koehler and Georgia Cattlemen’s Association Executive Vice President Dale Sandlin, all teams pitched legislation that would permanently increase the amount trucks hauling ag goods can carry from the current 80,000 lbs. (plus a 5% variance) to 95,000 lbs.

Each team was paired with an ag policy professional who lobbies for Georgia agriculture to give the contestants pointers as they delivered their pitches. GFB appreciates Nathan Humphrey of the National Federation of Independent Small Business, Hunter McBrayer with Alabama Farmers Federation and Jake Tench with

Georgia Agribusiness Council for serving as team coaches along with GFB staff Jeffrey Harvey, Alex Bradford and Jake Matthews.

The top three high school teams were selected from 15 entries. ABAC, Auburn and UGA were the only college entries. In the first round of competition, all teams that entered were asked to submit a 2-3 minute video discussing the importance of tax exemptions for farms and agribusinesses.

The MCHS FFA team, consisting of Jalyn Fish, Sydney Fish and Karoline Norton, advised by Rachel Kinsaul, won $1,000. The CCHS FFA team comprised of Maelee Dean, Ryan Kelly and Abigail Kendrick, advised by Jesse Kelly, won $800 as the 2nd place winners. Villa Rica FFA’s team of Brody Blair, Chesnee Cartwright and Kalaya Willliams, advised by Bennett Jacobs, won the 3rd place prize of $600.

UGA team members Kaelyn Morgan, Benjamin Easter and Sydney Lamberth, advised by Drs. Jessica Holt and Abigail Borron of the CAES Agricultural, Leadership, Education & Communication Department, won the $1,000 1st place collegiate prize. The 2nd place prize of $800 went to the Auburn team comprised of Kade Griffith, Abigail Lane and Hunter Watkins, advised by Dr. Kim Mullenix. ABAC team members Maddie Anne Davis, Nate McKinney and Colton Peacock, advised by Greta Collins, won the $600 3rd place prize.

14 Winter 2022 Georgia Farm Bureau News
Congratulations to, from left, UGA students Benjamin Easter, Kaelyn Morgan & Sydney Lamberth and to Morgan Co. High School students Jalyn Fish, Sydney Fish & Karoline Norton for winning 1st place in the collegiate and high school divisions of the Advocacy in Action Contest at Sunbelt Expo. / Photo by Jennifer Whittaker

Walker joins GFB public policy team

Keaton Walker has joined the Georgia Farm Bureau (GFB) team as an advocacy and policy development specialist effective Oct. 17.

Walker grew up in Colquitt County on her family’s cattle and quail farm, which produced approximately 150,000 quail annually. She has an associate degree from Abraham Baldwin Agricultural College and a bachelor’s degree in agricultural communications from the University of Georgia.

She most recently worked as chief marketing and public relations officer for Circle F Farms and its affiliated businesses in Baxley and previously worked as chief marketing and business development officer for the Georgia National Fairgrounds & Agricenter.

In her work with GFB, Walker will manage GFB’s annual process of establishing its positions on farm-related issues and work to promote the organization’s stances through outreach campaigns. Her duties will include working with GFB staff and volunteer leaders to engage elected officials at local, state and federal levels and providing GFB members and external stakeholders information about the organization’s legislative programs. She will also assist with the GFB ImPACt (political action committee) Fund.

Keaton and her husband, Dr. Clay Walker, live in Hawkinsville with their son Canaan. The Walkers recently purchased a small farm in Pulaski County where they plan to raise beef cattle and swine.

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Georgia National Fair honors outgoing Ag Commissioner Black

The 2022 Georgia National Fair (GNF) offered all its normal activities - rides, livestock shows and exhibits - with agriculture putting its best foot forward. Georgia Farm Bureau (GFB) had a significant presence at the fair sponsoring the daily concerts, prizes for the youth livestock shows and livestreaming of these shows.

The fair, which ran from Oct. 6 to Oct. 16, drew 543,120 visitors, the second-largest attendance in its history behind 2019, when 565,533 attended. A total of 40,327 patrons went to the fair on Oct. 7, the highest daily attendance for the event’s first Friday.

During opening ceremonies at Reaves Arena, the Georgia Agricultural Exposition Authority honored Georgia Agriculture Commissioner Gary Black, who finishes his term at the end of the year, with a plaque.

During Black’s 12-year tenure as ag commissioner, the GNF opened the Georgia Grown Building, where the state’s key agricultural stakeholders maintain a presence, and the Georgia Grown Baby Barn, which gives fairgoers a firsthand encounter with cattle and hogs giving birth.

Gov. Brian Kemp praised Black for his lifelong commitment to the state’s farmers.

“He has put his heart and soul not only into the fair board and this facility but in our entire state. To Lydia and his family, we’re just so grateful for their service and how hard they’ve worked on behalf of all Georgians,” Kemp said.

Even as he nears the end of his time as agriculture commissioner, Black continued his advocacy, leading Georgia’s Consul Corps on a tour of the fair, with an informative stop at the Baby Barn. The group included representatives from the Bahamas, Belgium, Brazil, Canada,

While offering almost $850,000 worth of entertainment for the price of admission, the fair used digital ticketing for the first time and instituted a clear-bag policy and other security measures. A nightly concert, petting zoos, magic shows, fireworks displays and more entertained visitors all 11 days of the fair. Reithoffer Shows provided more than 80 rides and 8 armband nights to guests.

The 34th Annual Georgia National Fair is set for Oct. 5-15, 2023. For more information visit www.georgianationalfair. com.

16 Winter 2022 Georgia Farm Bureau News
India, Israel, Japan, the Netherlands, Nigeria, Taiwan and the United Kingdom. Outgoing Georgia Commissioner of Agriculture Gary Black was honored during the Georgia National Fair opening ceremony. Photo by Logan Thomas GFB Ambassadors promoted the organization at the fair./Photo by Logan Thomas

Georgia Farm Bureau welcomes Lucky

GFB members attending the Georgia National Fair on Oct. 8 may have met Lucky, the newest member of the Farm Bureau family. A friendly farm dog who loves helping people, Lucky isn’t afraid of hard work and is always ready for action.

He’s the smiling face and wagging tail of GFB Insurance’s new marketing campaign. If you haven’t seen Lucky’s TV commercial, visit .

“The take-away lesson from Lucky’s commercial is, ‘It’s good

to be lucky, but it’s better to have Georgia Farm Bureau Insurance,’” GFB President Tom McCall said. “We want people to know you can’t depend on luck for your insurance needs.”

Some fortunate fairgoers found Lucky stuffed animals hidden around the fairgrounds both weekends of the fair.

Lucky frisbees and stickers were available at the GFB booth at both the fair and Sunbelt Expo.

Winter 2022 17 Georgia Farm Bureau News

USDA Southeast Poultry Lab updated for 21st Century

Don’t let the name of the USDA Southeast Poultry Research Laboratory (SEPRL) mislead you. The lab’s days of doing regional poultry research, as it did when established in 1962 to study air sacculitis in broilers, ended years ago.

SEPRL, a key part of the U.S. National Poultry Research Center, conducts research on viral poultry diseases to protect poultry flocks around the world and the international sale of poultry that feeds so many.

In October the USDA Agricultural Research Service (ARS) cut the ribbon for new facilities at the Athens lab adjacent to the University of Georgia. Two of three new buildings are operational.

When the third building is finished, SEPRL will be a 280,000 square-foot complex, making it the largest poultry research complex in the United States, USDA Under Secretary for Research, Education & Economics and USDA’s Chief Scientist Dr. Chavonda Jacobs-Young said.

What SEPRL does

SEPRL researchers developed the molecular tests used globally to diagnose avian influenza (AI) and Newcastle disease. The lab tracks outbreaks and the spread of viruses that cause AI and Newcastle, has developed vaccines for these viruses for emergency and commercial use, and conducts research to understand how to break the transmission cycle of the viruses. SEPRL researchers also study avian reoviruses, infectious bursal disease and Marek’s disease.

“The work of this lab and team has become more and more important. In the middle of an outbreak, they’re nimble enough to research the strain of a virus affecting birds in real time while also doing long-range work,” Georgia Poultry Federation President Mike Giles said. “It’s the people working in the building that make the difference. On behalf of Georgia’s poultry industry, I’d like to thank the lab researchers for their work to keep the poultry industry safe. The poultry industry appreciates the investment the USDA and Congress have made in this facility.”

Importance of SEPRL

The dedication ceremony highlighted the economic contribution poultry makes to Georgia’s economy and the importance of poultry research.

“The innovative and collaborative work done at this lab supports the $48.1 billion U.S. poultry sector that helps feed America and the world,” U.S. Rep. Sanford Bishop said.

Outgoing U.S. Rep. Jody Hice thanked UGA and USDA researchers for working together to protect the state’s poultry sector.

“Whenever there is an infectious disease within the poultry population, it has a ripple effect worldwide, which makes the research done at this facility all the more important,” Hice said. “The partnership between UGA and USDA researchers is a partnership we will benefit from for years to come.”

18 Winter 2022 Georgia Farm Bureau News
The USDA Southeast Poultry Lab features high biocontainment equipment for safe research on exotic viruses of poultry. / Photo courtesy USDA

Georgia is the top poultry producing state in the U.S. Three of every four counties in the state have businesses involved in poultry or egg production, according to the USDA.

“As a proud representative of Gainesville, the Poultry Capital of the World, I’m keenly aware of supply chain disruptions that have occurred in recent years,” U.S. Rep. Andrew Clyde said. “Food security includes both food safety and availability. The work of this USDA lab has been critical in keeping the poultry industry running.”

Need for a new facility

When built in the 1960s, SEPRL was designed with multiple small buildings to keep experiments and researchers apart, Dr. David Suarez, SEPRL research leader for exotic & emerging avian viral diseases, explained.

“When I first started in 1995, we had at least 35 buildings,” Suarez recalled. “In the past 60 years high efficiency particulate air (HEPA) controls, building engineering and technology has improved so much we can now consolidate all our research buildings into three large buildings. It’s amazing to be given the opportunity to work in a facility of this caliber. The design of the new buildings is more employee friendly and makes it easier to collaborate with our colleagues.”

Thanks to the new facility, Suarez’s team, which researches exotic and emerging diseases like avian flu and Newcastle, has consolidated from three small buildings to one of the new ones. The endemic poultry viral team, led by Dr. John Dunn, that studies reoviruses, infectious bursal disease and Marek’s disease is housed in the second new building.

“The existing facility already leads the world in poultry research so imagine what our scientists can do with this improved facility,” USDA Under Secretary Dr. Jacobs-Young said. “We have a lot to look forward to at this new facility.”

New facility a team effort

"I’d like to thank Georgia’s U.S. Congressional delegation for its strong, strong support. This would not have happened without their securing funding and seeking support from their Congressional colleagues,” SEPRL Director Dr. David Swayne said.

Swayne said the pre-design of the new complex dates to 2005 with SEPRL securing federal funding in 2015 and 2016 that allowed the lab to break ground in 2017.

“I was here for the groundbreaking ceremony held for this facility in November 2017, so it’s wonderful to be back here today to see the first two of the three buildings that will make up the lab completed,” outgoing Georgia Agriculture Commissioner Gary Black said. “It’s very important to recognize our federal partners who made this lab possible.”

Bishop recalled working on the initial efforts to modernize SEPRL that date back to the mid-2000s when initial design plans began.

“Poultry appropriations have always been important to me,” Bishop said. “As chairman of the House Appropriations Subcommittee for Agriculture, Rural Development, Food & Drug Administration and Related Agencies, I’m glad to work with my colleagues on both sides of the aisle to make sure USDA Agricultural Research Service labs get the funding they need.”

Dr. Jacobs-Young, who has been part of the USDA effort to update the SEPRL facility since talks began, said, “I think of the process of building this facility like a relay race. There are many of us here today who have worked to get this facility built for years.”

Winter 2022 19 Georgia Farm Bureau News
U.S., Georgia & Athens officials joined USDA Chief Scientist and Under Secretary Dr. Chavonda JacobsYoung, center, and USDA Agricultural Research Service leaders Oct. 4 to celebrate new buildings at the Southeast Poultry Research Laboratory. / Photo courtesy USDA Autoclaves for sterilizing materials in the USDA Southeast Poultry Lab./Photo courtesy USDA



Georgia agriculture and the state’s rural communities are still feeling the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic which has led to supply chain issues, rising inflation and interest rates, along with trade wars initiated in 2018.

“We’ve seen in the past two years that Georgia agriculture and our rural economies are vulnerable to the economic shocks we’ve experienced set off by the pandemic,” said Dr. Gupi Munisamy, UGA College of Agriculture & Environmental Sciences (CAES) agricultural marketing professor. “We need to find ways to get our people through these crises and to stabilize the water. Rural economies need innovation and unique approaches to prosperity.”

Munisamy spoke at the Joint Agriculture Committee Chairmen Ag Issues Summit Aug. 30 at the Georgia National Fairgrounds & Agricenter.

The last three Ag Snapshots reports, prepared by the UGA Center for Agribusiness & Economic Development, verify the impact.

In 2018, the farm gate value (FGV) of all food and fiber produced in Georgia was $13.79 billion. In 2019, the FGV of all food and fiber produced in Georgia was about $13 billion. The 2022 Ag Snapshots shows the FGV of all food and fiber production in Georgia was $12.2 billion. The 2023 Ag Snapshots will report the value of ag to Georgia’s economy in 2021 and 2022 values will be reported in 2024.

“Our ag economy is struggling. Farmers always worry about the weather and this year is no exception,” said Georgia House Agriculture Committee Chairman Rep. Robert Dickey, who produces peaches, pecans and timber. “We’re facing rising [input] prices. I paid double for fertilizer and our packaging costs are through the roof. There’s just a lot of challenges we face every day.” Munisamy offered some hope, saying, “Farm income patterns show progress after steep declines.”

While crude oil prices rose from $60 and $70 a barrel in February up to $100 per barrel this year, prices are expected to drop back to the $60 to $70 per barrel range by the end of the year, Munisamy said. Projections for broiler, cotton and peanut producers looks good he said.

“Long-term projections for broiler producers look great as there will be a demand for meat protein in Southeast Asia as their population grows,” Munisamy said, while acknowledging higher feed prices producers are experiencing due to drought conditions in other parts of the country and the threat highly pathogenic avian flu poses to producers.

He said drought in the western U.S. is driving up cotton prices and the forecast is stable for peanut prices.

“Fruits, vegetables and nuts will remain a near and long-term challenge as imports of fruits and veggies will continue to increase over the next ten years,” Munisamy said.

He said the USDA predicts net farm income for U.S. farmers will be down for 2022 compared to 2021 without USDA Market Facilitation Program and Coronavirus Food Assistance Program payments.

20 Winter 2022 Georgia Farm Bureau News




$5.77 bil (feed,misc., livestock, labor,fertilizer) $5.19 bil (feed,livestock, misc., capital, labor) $5.1 bil (feed,livestock, misc., capital, seed) $5.3 bil (feed,misc., livestock, capital, fertilizer) $5.1 bil (feed,misc., livestock, capital, labor)

Source: USDA ERS farm income & wealth stats 2017-2021. |

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Winter 2022 21 Georgia Farm Bureau News
Year 2021 2020 2019 2018 2017 New Farm Income $2.5 billion $1.86 billion $2.5 billion $2.2 billion $2.7 billion Gross Top 5 cash crops $6.7 bil (broilers, cotton, peanuts, eggs, misc.) $5.36 bil (broilers, cotton, eggs, peanuts, misc.) $6.24 bil (broilers, cotton, eggs, peanuts, misc.) $7.12 bil (broilers, peanuts, cotton, eggs, misc.) $2.7 bil (broilers, cotton, peanuts, eggs, misc.)
5 expenses


Georgia Farm Service Agency (FSA) Director Arthur Tripp is on a mission to make sure Georgia farmers are aware of all the programs and services the USDA FSA offers. In August, Tripp outlined the agency’s array of programs to hundreds of farmers attending the Georgia Farm Bureau Commodity Conference and again at the Ag Issues Summit in Perry.

“I hear all the time that you all are experiencing rising costs of inputs,” Tripp said. “We know that’s a significant burden on all our producers. I just want to make sure that you all are aware of some of these financial options that we offer through FSA.”

Tripp said the FSA’s primary functions are providing disaster assistance and offering access to capital for farmers.

The agency provides a variety of loans, including farm ownership loans, storage facility loans, operating loans, emergency loans, conservation loans, land contract guarantees, microloans and youth loans. Tripp said FSA backs between $100 million and $200 million in loans each year, partnering with private and community banks for many of its loans. If those are not available through banks, the agency also lends money directly to farmers. The FSA guarantees 90% of the funds loaned through its programs.

Tripp emphasized that loans are by no means the only assistance FSA offers. In 2021, FSA allocated $1.3 billion in direct payments to Georgia producers.

FSA administers the USDA’s disaster assistance programs, including the Coronavirus Food Assistance Program (CFAP), the Livestock Indemnity Program (LIP), Emergency Assistance for Livestock, Honey Bees and Farm-raised Fish (ELAP), and the Emergency Relief Program (ERP), the ongoing version of the Wildfires and Hurricanes Indemnity Program-Pluss (WHIP+).

Under CFAP and other COVIDrelated programs, FSA provided $476 million to Georgia producers, Tripp said.

LIP provides monetary payment if a producer’s cattle are affected by weather conditions or predatory animal attacks. The LIP payout rates were increased this summer for beef cattle from $175.27 to $474.58 and for dairy cows from $45 to $255.

Under ELAP, FSA provides payouts to producers who are experiencing challenges from blizzards, excessive wind, winter storms, lightning, floods or earthquakes. Tripp encouraged producers to keep a documented inventory of farm buildings, vehicles, equipment and livestock with photos stored on a cloud server or at an offfarm site.

“If you have any losses related to this, we need to know, because it’s an opportunity for us to help you,” Tripp said.

Tripp asked farmers to improve data available through the U.S. Drought Monitor by self-reporting conditions on their farms to provide data for areas the Drought Monitor doesn’t have data. To self-report, visit FSAdroughtselfreport.

Tripp also discussed FSA’s efforts to advance agriculture through Farm-toSchool grants to help schools establish or expand existing ag programs. FSA also offers up to $5,000 to help students purchase animals to enter in livestock shows.

For details on all FSA programs visit

22 Winter 2022 Georgia Farm Bureau News
Georgia Farm Service Agency Director Arthur Tripp wants farmers to know the agency offers numerous programs. Photo by Logan Thomas

Ag in the Classroom Update Art contests open to middle & high school students

Middle School Bookmark Contest

• Open to students in 6th - 8th grades

• Previous state winners not eligible to re-enter

• Contestants will be provided with a blank bookmark & asked to create a design illustrating Georgia agriculture

• 10 district winners each receive $100

• State winner receives an additional $150

Important info for both contests

• Contact your county Farm Bureau to enter & for deadline to submit entries for both contests to local Farm Bureaus

• Visit for contest details

• Both contests are open to homeschool, private & public school students

High School Art Contest

• Open to students in 9th -12th grades

• Previous state winners not eligible to re-enter

• Artwork must be on 8.5x11-inch white paper

• Artwork must be created in the colors black, white & gray

• Ten district winners will receive $100 each

• One state runner-up receives bonus $150 prize; state winner an extra $250

Winter 2022 23 Georgia Farm Bureau News
Contact Georgia Farm Bureau Educational Programs Coordinator Lauren Goble at or 478-474-0679, ext. 5135 for more information.


Nine Metro Atlanta teachers now have a better understanding of how peanuts and peanut butter are produced after taking a crash course in peanuts courtesy of the Georgia Peanut Commission (GPC) and Georgia Farm Bureau. The two organizations sponsored them to attend the GPC’s 34th Annual Georgia Peanut Tour in September.

This is the first time teachers were invited on the tour in hopes they will incorporate what they learned about Georgia’s official state crop and agriculture into their class curriculum.

During the two-day tour, planned by the GPC and UGA Extension Peanut Team, the teachers, and about 200 other attendees, visited Greg Davis’ farm. At the Davis farm they saw peanuts being dug and experienced the smell of freshly dug peanuts. A stop at Brian Ponder's farm let the group see how farmers drive through their fields with a tractor and peanut picker to scoop up the dried dug peanut vines. The picker separates the peanuts from the vines.

Stops at UGA research farms introduced the group to work UGA researchers are doing to develop new peanut varieties that will resist disease and produce higher yields. Researchers also talked about studies they are working on to help farmers use less water in growing peanuts and smaller amounts of crop inputs, such as fertilizer and chemicals, by using precision ag technology.

The group also toured a peanut buying point where farmers take their harvested peanuts to be graded by Georgia FederalState Inspection Service inspectors to ensure peanuts that go into our food supply are top quality and safe.

Other tour stops included the Georgia Department of Ag Seed Lab, where participants learned how peanuts that are grown to be used as seed for future crops are tested to ensure they

GFB Educational Programs Coordinator Lauren Goble, far left, & Georgia Peanut Commission Project Coordinator for Research & Education Hannah Jones, center, left, visit with some of the teachers who took the annual Georgia Peanut Tour at the invitation of the two organizations. Teachers pictured are, from left: Mollie Guy, Taylor DeLay, Laura Ergle & Jason Parlor. Other participating teachers not pictured are: Jennifer Baker, Sarah Davie, Tonya Freeman, James Nelson & Erin Pringle. / Photo courtesy of GPC/Joy Crosby

are high quality. The teachers visited Kelley Manufacturing Co., where they learned how the company has been developing peanut harvest equipment since 1966 and innovating their equipment through the years to help farmers harvest their crop more efficiently.

The teachers were amazed with all the jobs that are part of growing, harvesting and processing the peanuts into products consumers enjoy every day. These teachers gained a lot of knowledge on the tour they will take back to their school and their school systems that will impact their students for years to come.

Georgia Farm Bureau Educational Programs Coordinator Lauren Goble may be reached at or 478-474-0679, ext. 5135.

Contact your county Farm Bureau if you’d like to volunteer with its Ag in the Classroom Program.

24 Winter 2022 Georgia Farm Bureau News

Pollinator gardens honor Rosalynn Carter

Almost 30 county Farm Bureaus across Georgia joined a nationwide effort to celebrate former First Lady Rosalynn Carter’s 95th birthday by planting pollinator gardens this summer intended to increase habitat for monarch butterflies. Flowerbeds at the Georgia Farm Bureau office in Macon were registered in the project, and the GFB Women’s Leadership Committee planted a garden at the Foxfire Museum in Rabun County during a planning retreat in June.

The Rosalynn Carter Butterfly Trail (RCBT), which coordinated the project, set out to register 95 new gardens to its trail but far exceeded that goal with 240 new public and private gardens registered. The RCBT is a program inspired by Mrs. Carter to help increase habitat for monarch butterflies. The program, based in Plains, has expanded across the United States and internationally.

Participating county Farm Bureaus planted pollinator gardens at their county offices (11), schools (5), various locations in their communities (5) such as a senior center, park, YMCA, community garden and local business; local library (2); and in private gardens of staff or county directors. Eleven of the county Farm Bureaus conducted Ag in the Classroom activities for students using their gardens, and all but two of the participating counties plan to maintain their gardens.

“County Farm Bureaus across Georgia were excited to help celebrate Mrs. Carter’s 95th birthday by planting pollinator gardens, not only at their offices, but at schools and their local library,” said Georgia Farm Bureau Educational Programs Coordinator Lauren Goble. “Our local offices provided many items to create a garden, from seeds, plants, planters, raised beds, soil to mulch.”

Besides all the new pollinator gardens added in July and August, the Georgia Public Library Service placed the children’s book The Rosalynn Carter Butterfly Trail: A Journey Through Plains in all 420 libraries across the state. The book combines Mrs. Carter’s love of Monarch butterflies with her love of reading. Written by Annette Wise with a forward by Mrs. Carter, the book takes readers on a journey around Plains following a special monarch butterfly that befriends a young Rosalynn Smith Carter.

More than 50 Georgia libraries have planted pollinator gardens and are using these gardens as learning experiences as well as providing habitat for pollinators.

Photos of many of the gardens are posted online at www. along with the list of every garden registered with the trail.Contact your county Farm Bureau if you’d like to volunteer with its Ag in the Classroom Program.

Winter 2022 25 Georgia Farm Bureau News
Flower beds at the GFB office were registered as part of the Rosalynn Carter Butterfly Trail to help celebrate the former first lady’s birthday wish. Photo by Lauren Goble. Monarch Butterfly Photo by Lauren Goble Mitchell County Farm Bureau Office Manager Wanda Faircloth & 4-Her Mia Burnett with the pollinator garden they planted at the MCFB office. Burnett was named grand marshal of the 2022 Great Georgia Pollinator Census for multiple projects she did to increase pollinator awareness and preservation. / Photo courtesy Wanda Faircloth

Nearly 300 guests attended the Georgia Foundation for Agriculture’s Picnic on the Farm Eventure Sept. 17 at Engelheim Vineyards in Ellijay. This unique culinary and educational event raised $47,000 through ticket sales, a silent auction, sponsorships and donations to fund the foundation’s many programs that raise agricultural awareness and prepare Georgia’s next generation of agricultural leaders.

Picnic volunteers greeted arriving guests inside the vineyard’s “Venue in the Vines” event center with baskets packed with cuisine from North Georgia chefs and Ellijay apple farms. After gathering their baskets and award-winning Engelheim Vineyards wine, guests enjoyed the afternoon relaxing and

exploring the vineyard while listening to local band Jack and the Bean Sprouts perform classic songs from the 1960s and ‘70s. Guests also enjoyed watching members of the North Georgia Plein-Air Artists group capture the scenery and spirit of the event with their paint brushes.

The picturesque, 15-acre vineyard in the foothills of the Appalachian Mountains introduced guests to Georgia’s growing wine and grape sector.

Engelheim Vineyards owner Gary Engel hosted three smallgroup, one-hour tours of his vineyards along with Engelheim winemaker Billy Branch, UGA Extension Fruit Disease Specialist Plant Pathologist Phillip M. Brannen and Gilmer County UGA Extension Agent Ashely Hoppers.

“Gary Engel is clearly very connected to the earth. I could see his passion behind why he farms and cares for his land,” one guest was overheard saying after touring the farm. “The farm tour was inspirational.”

Event attendees also had the chance to tour the foundation’s Georgia Ag Experience (GAE) mobile classroom, which travels



approximately 200 days a year to visit third through fifth-grade elementary school students and public events. The mobile classroom brings the farm to the students using interactive computer games and simulation stations that educate students using science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) curriculum.

In 2021, the GAE classroom educated 16,861 students in 63 counties statewide. The mobile classroom is one of the many programs the Picnic on the Farm and other fundraising efforts led by GFA Executive Director Lily Baucom will fund.

“There is a serious disconnect between those inside and outside of agriculture. The gap between farmers who grow food and fiber, and those who consume it, is getting wider,” Baucom said. “In fact, most students are three to four generations removed from the farm. It is our job to find innovative approaches to address these issues which impact food security in Georgia, our nation and worldwide.”


Georgia Foundation for Agriculture Executive Director Lily Baucom may be reached at or 478.405.3461. Visit to learn more about the foundation or to make a tax-deductible donation.

26 Winter 2022 Georgia Farm Bureau News
Photo by Logan Thomas Photo by Logan Thomas

Georgia Foundation for Agriculture Thanks Sponsors

The Georgia Foundation for Agriculture (GFA) thanks everyone who contributed to its mission in the third quarter of 2022 ending Sept. 30. GFA is grateful to its sponsors listed below and the Georgia Farm Bureau and Georgia Farm Bureau Insurance Company for their ongoing support. For more information about the foundation or to become a sponsor, please contact GFA Executive Director Lily Baucom at or 478-405-3461.

You may also visit to make a tax-deductible donation.

Driving Agriculture

Two-Day Sponsors

South Fulton Co. Farm Bureau

Walton County Farm Bureau

Young Farmers & Ranchers Mini Golf Fundraiser Sponsors

Cotton and Copper

Days Inn Jekyll Island

FBAlliance Insurance Holiday Inn Jekyll Island

Juke’s Joint Liberty Farms

Maxwell’s General Store

Parker Kaufman Realty Salt Table LLC

Seaside Sunglasses

Tribuzio’s Grille Villas by the Sea Picnic

on the Farm Sponsors

ABAC School of Agriculture & Natural Resources

AgGeorgia Farm Credit

Alliant Health Plans

Anthem Blue Cross & Blue Shield

Cardinal Investment Advisors

Cobb Co. Farm Bureau

Colquitt Co. Farm Bureau

Engelheim Vineyard Farm Bureau Bank

FBAlliance Insurance

Georgia Agribusiness Council Georgia Farm Bureau Georgia Forestry Foundation

Georgia Fruit & Vegetable Growers Association

Georgia Grown Citrus @ JoNina Farm

Georgia Poultry Federation

Gilmer Co. Chamber of Commerce

Guy Carpenter & Company, LLC

Harrison Poultry Invoice Cloud

James Bates Brannan Groover LLP

Magnolia Loom

MAR-JAC Poultry, Inc.

Mercer University School of Medicine

Premium Peanut

Sapiens Americas Steven Leibel, PC

The West Family Truist Financial

866 W Parker St Baxley, Ga 31513 • Phone • 912-705-9900 Make sure to follow us on Come see us for all your Holiday Gift Giving!

Hall joins GFA staff

Hannah Hall has joined the Georgia Foundation for Agriculture (GFA) staff as an educational programs assistant.

Hall will work with Virginia Fulwood to set the Georgia Ag Experience Mobile Ag Classroom schedule as it travels to schools and events statewide. She will also serve as a mobile classroom instructor working closely with county Farm Bureau staff and volunteers as the GAE visits communities.

A native of Floyd County, Hall received an associate of science in ag education from Abraham Baldwin Agricultural College. She is working toward a bachelor’s degree in business administration from Southern New Hampshire University. Hall spent almost nine years in banking as a loan processor. Hall, who grew up around farming, was an active FFA member as a student and is an active member of the Floyd County Young Farmers Association. She describes herself as a huge Atlanta Braves fan and spends her spare time watching or attending games.

Hall may be reached at Learn more about the mobile classroom at


Georgia Farm Bureau members made Oct. 2 a night to remember as they cheered the Atlanta Braves to a 5-3 victory over the New York Mets at Truist Park. The inaugural GFB Day at The Braves sold 660 tickets to raise $6,600 for the Georgia Foundation for Agriculture.

The number of GFB members attending the game - 660 - was 1.545% of the sellout crowd of 42,713. This is close to the 1.4% of America’s population who are farmers according to USDA stats.

Many GFB members attending the game hoisted clever signs that increased ag awareness, plugged GFB insurance or the foundation. The following each won a $100 gift card for their creative signs: Best Ag Education Promo: Stetson Branch; Best Commodity Promo: Brittney Turner; Best Ag Importance/Baseball Promo: Lindsey Morgan; Funniest Foundation Promo: Jason Lee Thompson; Best Insurance Promo: Kristi Cook.

Visit to see these posters and more.

28 Winter 2022 Georgia Farm Bureau News
Stetson Branch won Best Ag Ed Promo Photo by Stephanie Branch Brittney Turner won Best Commodity Promo/Photo courtesy B. Turner Hannah Hall

Students pursuing Ag careers encouraged to apply for GFA scholarships


The Georgia Foundation for Agriculture continues to invest in students pursuing careers in agriculture or related fields. For 2023, the foundation is offering $70,000 in scholarships for graduating high school seniors, rising college juniors and seniors, technical college students and UGA College of Veterinary Medicine students specializing in farm animals.

Visit for a list of eligible majors and schools for each scholarship category and to apply. Applications must be submitted online only by March 1, 2023. Transcripts and letters of recommendation must be uploaded with the application. The four scholarship categories the Georgia Foundation for Agriculture offers are:

Scholarship for Agriculture

10 scholarships of $3,000 are available for graduating high school seniors. The top three ranking applicants will be eligible for an additional $1,000 bonus. Applicants must:

• Be a Georgia resident

• During the 2023-24 academic year, be enrolled in a unit of The University System of Georgia, Berry College, Emmanuel College or any Georgia accredited college university with an ag program.

• Pursue an undergraduate degree in agricultural & environmental sciences, family & consumer sciences or a related ag field.

• Have a minimum 3.0 GPA their first semester of college

• Be engaged in high school leadership activities

Technical College Scholarship for Agriculture

4 scholarships of $1,500 available. Top 2 applicants eligible for a $500 bonus. Applicants must:

• Be a Georgia resident

• Be enrolled in a Georgia accredited technical college during the 2023-24 academic year

• Major in an area of study related to agriculture

• Have a minimum 2.8 GPA

Rising College Jr./Sr. Scholarship for Agriculture

10 scholarships of $2,000 are available. Applicants must:

• Be a Georgia resident majoring in agricultural & environmental sciences, family & consumer sciences or a related ag field

• Be a sophomore or junior with at least two semesters remaining to receive undergraduate degree at a unit of The University System of Georgia, Berry College, Emmanuel College or any Georgia accredited college/university with an ag program

• Be engaged in college leadership activities

• Have a minimum 3.0 GPA

UGA College of Veterinary Medicine Scholarship

2 scholarships of $5,000 are available. Applicants must:

• Be a Georgia resident

• Be a current University of Georgia veterinary medicine student specializing in large animal/food animal practice

• Have a minimum 3.0 GPA

Questions about the scholarships should be directed to Georgia Foundation for Agriculture Executive Director Lily Baucom at or 478-405-3461.

Winter 2022 29 Georgia Farm Bureau News

HEAVY RAINS flood portions of Chattooga Co.

Heavy rains on Sept. 4 in Chattooga County left a cotton field under about 12 feet of water.

courtesy of Garrett Hurley

The same field of cotton on Sept. 6 after the flood water receded.

Like Bryan, Garrett was counting his blessings in the wake of the storm.

In the early hours of Sept. 4 some areas of Chattooga County received about 12 inches of rain, overwhelming the Chattooga River and its feeder streams in what the National Weather Service called a 500-year flood. Much of downtown Summerville was flooded leaving numerous houses and businesses without power and water. At least one Chattooga farmer sustained crop losses because of the flooding.

Chattooga County Farm Bureau (CCFB), located on U.S. Highway 27 in Summerville, sustained about $50,000 worth of damage. CCFB continued to function despite being forced to temporarily relocate until Oct. 5.

CCFB President and GFB 1st District Director Bill Bryan counted the organization fortunate the damage wasn’t more extensive.

“I told our board it could have been a fire or a tornado,” Bryan said. “We’ll survive.”

The floors were ruined in the CCFB building, which also had internal water damage to lower portions of its walls and water damage to ceiling tiles resulting from a roof leak. The building’s air conditioning unit started running while submerged and was damaged beyond repair.

CCFB staff temporarily relocated to the First Baptist Church pastorium located behind the CCFB office. Bryan said the county records being computerized prevented any major problems.

“Ten years ago, when everybody had a [paper] file and we filed everything by hand, it would have been devastating. With everything being on the computer, I think we’ll be all right now,” Bryan said.

Meanwhile, Chattooga County farmer Garrett Hurley, who grows cotton and soybeans along with his father, Greg, lost about 50 acres of cotton, representing about 15% of the farm’s overall crop. The Hurleys had fields next to Racoon Creek and Perennial Creek, which come together to run into the Chattooga River. Garrett estimated the fields were under 12 feet of water. The plants in the soybean and cotton fields were submerged, laying them over; soil was washed away from the roots of the soybean plants.

“It basically took the top end out of our yield,” Garrett said. “It turned a great crop into a below-average crop.”

“I guess we’re really fortunate that we’re talking about crops and not homes,” Garrett said. “There are hundreds of people here in Chattooga County who had multiple inches of water in the floor of their house. It’s hard for me to call it that bad with some of the other destruction that I’ve seen.”

The flood also affected parts of Floyd County.

30 Winter 2022 Georgia Farm Bureau News
Photo Photo courtesy of Garrett Hurley

Georgia farms honored for longevity

With the USDA reporting that only 1.4% of the U.S. population farms, being a farmer is rare. Farming land that’s been in your family for at least a century is extraordinary.

On Oct. 12, six Georgia farms were recognized for having been operated and owned by members of the same family for 100 years or more. Appropriately, the Georgia Centennial Farms reception was held on National Farmers Day during the Georgia National Fair in Perry.

Farms may be recognized with one of three awards. The Centennial Family Farm Award recognizes farms owned by members of the same family for 100 years or more that are not listed in the National Register of Historic Places (NRHP). The Centennial Heritage Farm Award honors farms owned by the same family for 100 years or more that are listed in the NRHP. The Centennial Farm Award does not require continual family ownership but farms must be at least 100 years old and listed in the NRHP.

This program is administered by the Historic Preservation Division of the Georgia Department of Community Affairs with support from Georgia Farm Bureau (GFB), Georgia EMC, the Georgia Department of Agriculture, Georgia Forestry Commission, and Georgia National Fairgrounds & Agricenter. GFB has been a supporting partner of the award since it began in 1993.

“Congratulations to all of you on your families farming for 100 years or more,” GFB President Tom McCall told the award recipients. “I especially congratulate those of you in growing areas who have held off developers so you can continue to grow our food and fiber.”

Since 1993, more than 600 farms have been designated a Georgia centennial farm.

“Thanks to all of you for what you do as farmers. I think it's important that we recognize the centennial farms in our state for the contributions they have made,” said Georgia Department of Community Affairs Deputy Director Rusty Haygood.

Want to nominate a farm?

Farm owners interested in nominating a farm for recognition should visit to download an application or contact or call 404-679-4840. Applications should be postmarked by May 1 each year.

to the six families

Winter 2022 31 Georgia Farm Bureau News
The 2022 recipients of the Centennial Family Farm Award are:
Green Acres
Bartow County John Davis Farm Bartow County Gough Family Land, LLC. Burke County Balkcom Family Farms Early County Callaway Homeplace Farm Heard County Walker Place Sumter County
Congratulations honored with a 2022 Centennial Family Farm Award. Photo courtesy of Ga. Dept. of Ag/ Nick Vassy
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