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Vol. 72 No. 1

GEORGIA

January/February 2010

FARM BUREAU NEWS

The Voice of Georgia Farmers


Life

Insurance

“I can’t

Give these kids the future.” — but I can help them prepare for it. Their world is changing. Fast. And keeping up is difficult. Today’s students are faced with challenges and opportunities throughout all of their young lives. Their future is uncertain. Everyone’s looking for answers, and I’m no exception. I count on my local Farm Bureau Insurance agent to help me prepare for the times ahead with a solid financial program of Life and Disability Insurance, as well as retirement planning, including IRAs and annuities. And that makes my future more secure.

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table of

contents january/february 2010

departments we, the farmers PAGE 4

legislative update PAGE 5

women’s committee news

PAGE 9

commodities update PAGE 10

around georgia

PAGE 20

public relations staff

Paul Beliveau Director Jennifer Whittaker Editor

Lillian Davis Publications/Advertising Manager

Jay Stone Print/Web Specialist

Denny Moore TV Producer/Anchor

Rick Treptow Senior Radio-TV Specialist

Michael Edmondson Web/Video Manager

Mark Wildman Radio-TV Specialist

Dean Wood Radio-TV Specialist

Ryan Naquin Radio-TV Specialist

Vickie Amos Office Coordinator 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 email jawhittaker@gfb.org For questions regarding advertising contact Hurst and Associates, Inc., 1-800-397-8908 Visit the GFB Web site today! www.gfb.org

Georgia Farm Bureau News

GFB holds 71st annual convention

GFB President Zippy Duvall introduces the 2010 GFB Board of Directors at the end of the convention. Convention highlights included speeches by Gov. Sonny Perdue and six of the gubernatorial candidates. PAGE 6

Farming for soldiers

Christmas was a little brighter thanks to the efforts of Greg Smith, a Nicholson Christmas tree farmer who coordinated Georgia’s Trees For Troops campaign, and Paul Joseph, South Georgia Pecan Company vice president for sales, who arranged for pecans to be sent to soldiers overseas. Here Joseph inspects bags of nuts waiting to be shipped. PAGE 8

Southeast fruit & vegetable conference focuses on food safety

Food safety was a major topic at the annual Southeast Regional Fruit and Vegetable Conference Jan. 7-10 in Savannah. PAGE 12

Peanut flour gives cooks a new ingredient

Peanut growers near Fitzgerald are using their crop to make flour in hopes of creating a new market for their peanuts. PAGE 14

GFB members encouraged to participate in census

Georgia Farm Bureau is encouraging its members to complete and return the 10-question census form they will soon receive by April 1. The census determines the amount of federal funding that community and state governments receive, so it’s important that all rural Georgians are counted. PAGE 17

GFB members attend 91st AFBF Convention

Georgia was well represented at the AFBF convention where attendees networked with farmers from across the country and heard informative speakers discussing a variety of topics including climate change. PAGE 18

on the cover

(Photo by Jennifer Whittaker) Ever heard the sayings “Happy as a pig in mud” or “Happy as a dead pig in the sunshine”? Ever wondered what those pigs looked like? Well, these muddy pigs are only dead asleep, but they certainly seem happy! This shot was taken at the farm of Brooks County Farm Bureau President Andrew Thompson, who raises allnatural pork sold through Thompson Farms Smokehouse. January-February 2010 / 3


we, the

farmers Zippy Duvall, GFB President

Off & running

I don’t know about you, but it seems to me that the new year shot out of the gate and is off to a fast start. First, there was the American Farm Bureau Convention in early January, where your state was well represented. You can read more about the details of this meeting on pages 18 and 19, but I’ll share a few highlights. GFB brought home Awards of Excellence for our programs in Ag Education & Promotion, Leadership Development, Policy Implementation and Public Relations & Information. It was also a pleasure to see Georgia Commissioner of Agriculture Tommy Irvin receive the Distinguished Service to Agriculture Award, the highest honor AFBF presents. Irvin is recognized nationally as the longest-serving state agriculture commissioner. Since taking office in 1969, Irvin has worked with other states to coordinate eradication programs for livestock diseases such as cattle brucellosis and crop pests like the boll weevil. He also established the International Trade program in the Georgia Department of Agriculture to help Georgia’s farmers and agribusinesses export their products around the world. Thanks in part to his efforts, Russia bought more than $800 million worth of U.S.-raised broilers in 2008, and China imported $396.5 million in broilers. I also had the honor of inviting the members of the other 49 state Farm Bureaus to travel to Atlanta next January to attend the 92nd Annual AFBF Convention, Jan. 9-12, 2011. If you’ve never had the opportunity to attend an AFBF convention there will never be a better time. So, I’d like to encourage all

of our members to attend. The 2010 session of the Georgia General Assembly kicked off Jan. 11, and Georgia Farm Bureau is working hard as the “Voice of Georgia farmers.” We actually began preparing for the session in mid-December. On Dec. 10, the GFB Legislative Committee and GFB Water Advisory Committee Chairman John Bridges joined me in welcoming the new Environmental Protection Director Allen Barnes to our home office here in Macon. This meeting gave him a chance to meet some of our GFB leaders and staff who work with water issues. Georgia Sen. Ross Tolleson, who chairs the Senate Natural Resources Committee, and staff representatives of Sens. Saxby Chambliss and Johnny Isakson and U.S. Reps. Sanford Bishop and Jim Marshall also attended the meeting along with Donnie Smith, Gov. Perdue’s ag liaison, Georgia Soil & Water Conservation Commission Executive Director Brent Dykes and Deputy Director Dave Eigenberg, Georgia Department of Agriculture Assist. Commissioner Dr. James Sutton and Cliff Lewis, EPD acting assistant branch chief of the Ochlockonee/ Suwanee/Satilla/St.Mary’s River Basins. The meeting gave me a chance to voice GFB’s main concerns regarding water planning and agriculture and gave the other attendees an opportunity to share the work their respective agencies have done in recent years to improve the efficiency of agriculture’s water use. Barnes told us he intends to run the EPD according to the “3 Rs” – respect, responsiveness and responsibility. We See WE, THE FARMERS page 17

Pictured from left, Tift County Farm Bureau Director Wes Shannon, GFB President Zippy Duvall and GFB 1st Vice President Gerald Long talk during a recent tailgate lunch Duvall held at Shannon’s farm. 4 / January-February 2010

GEORGIA

FARM BUREAU NEWS

The Voice of Georgia Farmers

SUBSCRIPTION RATES Farm Bureau Members: Included in dues — $1 per year Non-Members — $15 per year To subscribe call 1-800-898-1911, ext. 5238. OFFICERS President ZIPPY DUVALL 1st Vice President/South Georgia Vice President GERALD LONG North Georgia Vice President BERNARD SIMS Middle Georgia Vice President ROBERT FOUNTAIN Treasurer/Corporate Secretary Wayne Daniel General Counsel DUKE Groover

DIRECTORS FIRST DISTRICT: J. Louis Hunt, LaFayette; Henry J. West, Rydal SECOND DISTRICT: Bobby Gunter, Dahlonega; Randy Ruff, Elberton THIRD DISTRICT: George Chambers, Carrollton; Nora Goodman, Temple FOURTH DISTRICT: Marvin Ruark, Bishop; William Hutchins, Winder FIFTH DISTRICT: Jim Ham, Smarr; Ralph Adamson Jr., Barnesville SIXTH DISTRICT: James Emory Tate, Denton; James Malone, Dexter SEVENTH DISTRICT: Ben Boyd, Sylvania; Gennis Folsom, Glenville EIGHTH DISTRICT: Phil Redding, Bluffton; Don Wood, Rochelle NINTH DISTRICT: Paul Shirah, Camilla; Lucius Adkins, Elmodel TENTH DISTRICT: David Lee, Alma; Daniel Johnson, Alma YOUNG FARMER CHAIRMAN: Matt Bottoms, Molena WOMEN’S COMMITTEE CHAIR: Cathy Barber, Alma ADVERTISING POLICY All advertising accepted subject to publisher’s approval. Advertisers must assume liability for content of their advertising. Publisher maintains right to cancel advertising for non-payment or reader complaint about advertiser service or products. Publisher does not accept per-order, political or alcoholic beverage ads, nor does publisher prescreen or guarantee advertiser service or products. Publisher assumes no liability for products or services advertised in the Georgia Farm Bureau News. For advertising rates and information, contact Hurst and Associates, Inc., P.O. Box 6011, Vernon Hills, IL 60061, 1-800-397-8908. Georgia Farm Bureau News was established in 1937. Copyright 2009 by the Georgia Farm Bureau Federation. Printed by Panaprint, Macon, Georgia.

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Georgia Farm Bureau News


legislative update Jon Huffmaster, Legislative Director

Farm Bureau sets priority issues The American and Georgia Farm Bureau Boards of Directors recently set priority issues for 2010. Our state priorities will be issues related to water, the state budget and taxes, defense of animal agriculture and biotechnology. National priorities include climate change, estate tax reform, disaster assistance, environmental regulation, dairy policy, food safety, trade policy and immigration reform. “Our organization will continue to be involved with any issues that affect farmers, but these issues have surfaced as having particular interest within our membership,” GFB President Zippy Duvall said. Water has been on the state priority list for several years, and 2010 is no different. Georgia adopted a statewide water management plan in 2008, which created 10 regional water councils. GFB made nominations to these councils, and 46 of those nominees were appointed to serve. In addition, GFB staff members have been assigned to meet with the councils to offer assistance as needed. Last summer’s court decision, which ruled Atlanta was making illegal withdrawals from Lake Lanier that must stop by 2012, has only made the water issue more important. As Georgia, Florida, and Alabama work to resolve their ongoing dispute over the Chattahoochee River and the 2012 deadline looms, the Georgia General Assembly may consider many water-related bills this session. Governor Perdue’s Water Contingency Task Force has already acknowledged that Atlanta cannot meet its water needs by 2012 using conservation measures alone and that the short timeframe of the deadline is not conducive for planning. Taxes and budget woes will force this year’s General Assembly to make some tough decisions. State revenues continue to fall, and the Georgia Constitution requires a balanced budget. In this economic climate, it is important that Farm Bureau members show support Georgia Farm Bureau News

for agriculture programs like the Cooperative Extension Service, Agricultural Experiment Stations, the Georgia Department of Agriculture and other agencies that assist farmers. Legislators need to know how much farmers depend on the services these agencies provide. Farm Bureau will also defend important property tax reform programs. The Conservation Use Value Assessment (CUVA) is vital to the farmers of Georgia, and the Forest Land Protection Act (FLPA) helped to balance the scales for forestland owners. Finally, farmers are exempt from sales taxes for seed, feed, fertilizer and other input costs. Farm Bureau maintains these exemptions are exactly the same as inputs for other production businesses and should be preserved. Defense of animal agriculture is another Farm Bureau priority. Livestock and poultry are significant in Georgia, and our state leads the nation in chicken and egg production. In several states around the country, misguided individuals and groups have passed regulations that virtually eliminate commercial livestock and poultry enterprises. Farm Bureau will work to tell the positive story of meat production and defend against unwarranted attacks. Georgia farmers have embraced biotechnology. Nearly all cotton and most soybeans grown in the state have been improved through biotechnology. Farm Bureau will help educate consumers about the benefits of this technology. At the same time, our organization will continue to press for greater fairness to farmers using biotechnology. The fees associated with its use are substantial. For example, the tech fee for cotton seed greatly exceeds the price of the seed, and Georgia farmers are assessed at a higher rate than other states. Seed companies justify this higher rate saying Georgia farmers receive greater benefit from the technology. However, there is clear documentation by the University of Georgia that gly-

phosate resistant pigweed has appeared in 34 Georgia counties. The result is the value of the biotechnology to Georgia farmers is reduced. We believe affected farmers should be reimbursed for these fees in such cases. Opposition to climate change legislation is a priority for American Farm Bureau. Farmers cannot pass on their costs, and they cannot afford to absorb additional ones. Estate taxes are unfair. Farm Bureau supports outright repeal but will be working for an increased exemption indexed to inflation. AFBF will advocate for ad hoc disaster assistance for 2009 losses and will work to address some of the challenges facing dairymen across the nation. Environmental issues of concern relate to the Clean Air Act and EPA’s regulation of greenhouse gases through the “cow tax.” Farm Bureau also opposes expansion of the Clean Water Act to regulate all waters of the United States. Finally, AFBF will work for meaningful immigration reform, reasonable food safety regulations and ways to open up foreign markets to U.S. farm products. Farm Bureau will continue to be the voice of agriculture on the state and national level. Jon Huffmaster is director of the GFB Legislative Department.

CAES Alumni Association seeks award nominations

The UGA College of Agricultural & Environmental Sciences Alumni Association is accepting nominations for the Georgia Agricultural Hall of Fame, Young Alumni Achievement Award and Alumni Award of Excellence. All nominations must be postmarked by March 15. Recipients will be honored at the association’s annual banquet on Sept. 17. Call 706-542-3390 or visit www.caes.uga.edu/alumni to obtain guidelines and nomination forms.

January-February 2010 / 5


GFB holds 71 annual convention st

By Jennifer Whittaker _____________________________________ ore than 1,500 Georgia Farm Bureau members attended the organization’s 71st annual convention held Dec. 6-8 on Jekyll Island. While delivering his annual address, GFB President Zippy Duvall encouraged the organization’s membership to embrace change to ensure the viability of Georgia agriculture. “Never before have we been faced with so much change. Change is a choice, and we have the opportunity to either reject it and face possible elimination or embrace it and move through the transition,” Duvall said in his general session speech, Dec. 7. “While much is changing, our mission will always be focused on the enhancement of agriculture.” Embracing change was an appropriate theme for the general session as six of the 20 individuals who have publicly expressed their intention to enter the 2010 Georgia gubernatorial race took the stage and briefly addressed convention attendees. Candidates

Photo by Lili Davis

M

During the groundbreaking ceremony for the new convention center, Gov. Sonny Perdue, members of the Jekyll Island Authority and Jekyll Island staff show their appreciation for GFB holding its convention on Jekyll Island for the past 46 years.

who currently hold or have previously held a state or national office were invited to address the GFB convention. Those speaking included U.S. Rep. Nathan Deal (R-U.S. Dist. 9) of Gainesville, former Georgia Sen. Eric Johnson of Savannah (R-Dist. 1), who resigned his office

Photo by Jay Stone

GFB presents state awards

Georgia Farm Bureau President Zippy Duvall (back row, far right) congratulates the 2009 GFB award recipients (front row, L-R): Janie Tyre of Bacon County; Nancie Sanders of Greene County; Ali Merk of Jackson County, Eleanor Toppins, Henry County; Nanette Bryan, Chattooga County and Nichelle Stewart, Cherokee County Farm Bureau; (back row, L-R): Cory Tyre of Bacon County; Dene Channell, Greene County Farm Bureau; Edd Harris, Crawford County Farm Bureau; Charlie Frank Harris of Crawford County; Len Cagle, Cherokee County and Clint Weatherby, Cherokee County.

6 / November-December 2008

earlier this year to run for governor; Georgia Insurance Commissioner John Oxendine (R), Georgia Rep. DuBose Porter (D-Dist. 143), leader of the House Democratic Caucus since 2005, David Poythress (D), former state labor commissioner from 1992 to 1998 and secretary of state from 1979 to 1983, and County Farm Bureaus and individual volunteers were honored during the GFB Convention for promoting agriculture and their contributions to the organization. The annual awards program included some unscripted drama certain to go down in Farm Bureau history. The program had just begun on Dec. 6, when fire alarms sounded and the convention center was evacuated after an air condition motor in a room next to the auditorium burned out. Bill Daley, director of operations for the convention center, said the motor burnt after a transformer across the street from the convention center blew. The program resumed the next evening prior to the John Berry concert. “Recognizing our outstanding county programs and volunteers is a highlight of the convention for me, and I regret this special evening was disrupted for those being honored, but this was just one of those unforeseen curveballs that life sometimes throws at us,” Duvall said.

Georgia Farm Bureau News


Crawford, Greene and Cherokee counties were honored with the prestigious 2009 McKemie Award for their respective membership categories during the GFB Convention. This is the highest honor given to a county for its outstanding member programs. Crawford County, whose president is Edd Harris, won for the 0 to 1,800 member division. Greene County, whose president is Dene Channell, won for the 1,801 to 3,000 member division, and Cherokee County won the 3,001–plus member category. Len Cagle was the 2009 Cherokee County Farm Bureau president. Finalists in the McKemie competition, listed in alphabetical order, for the 0 to 1,800 member division were: Bacon, Jasper, Jeff Davis, Monroe, Pike, Screven, Taliaferro, Upson and Wilcox counties. Finalists for the 1,801 to 3,000 member division were: Bibb, Cook, Decatur, Floyd, Jones, Polk, Spalding and WashSee AWARDS page 8

Georgia Farm Bureau News

built approximately on the site of the present facility and is expected to open in 2012, according to Jekyll Island Authority officials. Earlier in the morning, GFB gave special recognition to Georgia Agriculture Commissioner Tommy Irvin with a tribute video. “Tommy Irvin has worked tirelessly for Georgia’s farmers, in the state, national and international arenas,” Duvall said. “He’s been a great partner of mine for the three years I’ve served as Farm Bureau president, and I couldn’t have asked for anyone better to serve with.” U.S. Rep. Jack Kingston (R-Dist. 1), whose district includes Jekyll Island, welcomed the convention attendees to his district. “I feel excess regulations have been put on small businesses,” Kingston said. “We’re watching these issues very closely, and we need to have some common sense practicality with these regulations.” Kingston explained that he voted against legislation the House passed recently to raise the estate tax exemption to $3.5 million per individual with a tax rate of 45 percent because it is not indexed for inflation and because he’s optimistic another bipartisan bill will be introduced that will raise the exemption to $5 million per individuals and be indexed for inflation. “I’m glad there’s some progress being made. The bill I’m holding out for would cover most Americans, and the Ted Turners and Bill Gates can figure it out for themselves,” Kingston said.

Photo by Jennifer Whittaker

Georgia Rep. Austin Scott (R-Dist. 153) of Ashburn, who chairs the House Governmental Affairs Committee. Following brief comments from the gubernatorial candidates, Gov. Sonny Perdue spoke to the GFB convention attendees about the importance of Georgia agriculture to the state’s economy. “I can’t tell you all of the industries that will be around in the future, but I can think of one and that’s agriculture. We’ve got the right resources and research here in Georgia to keep agriculture in the forefront for a long, long time,” Perdue said. “We’re pushing hard to create new markets in a variety of areas around the world. We see the billions of people around the world growing into the middle class and increasing the demand for protein and other food products, and that’s why I’m so excited about the future of Georgia agriculture.” Following Perdue’s speech, convention attendees were invited to attend a groundbreaking ceremony for the island’s revitalization project, which will begin with the Great Dunes Park, to be built on the beach side of the island. A new convention center will be

U.S. Rep. Jack Kingston addresses the GFB convention.

2010 GFB Board of Directors named Georgia Farm Bureau voting delegates have ratified the organizations’s 2010 board of directors. GFB President Zippy Duvall of Greene County continues his second, two-year term. Voting delegates redesignated Gerald Long of Decatur County as the organization’s 1st vice president. Long will begin serving the last year of his three-year term as South Georgia vice president. Robert Fountain, Jr. of Emanuel County was elected to a three-year term as GFB Middle Georgia vice president. Bernard Sims of Catoosa County will begin serving the second year of his three-year term as GFB North Georgia vice president. The following were elected to serve two-year terms on the Georgia Farm Bureau Board of Directors: J. Louis Hunt of Walker County, 1st District; Bobby Gunter of Lumpkin County, 2nd District; George Chambers of Carroll County, 3rd District; Marvin Ruark of Morgan County, 4th District; Ralph Adamson of Lamar County, 5th District; James Malone of Laurens County, 6th District; Gennis Folsom of Tattnall County, 7th District; Phil Redding of Clay County, 8th District; Paul Shirah of Mitchell County, 9th District and David Lee of Bacon County, 10th District. GFB board members beginning the second year of the two-year term they were elected to in 2008 are: Henry J. West of Gordon County, 1st District; Randy Ruff of Elbert County, 2nd District; Nora Goodman of Paulding County, 3rd District; William Hutchins of Barrow County, 4th District; Jim Ham of Monroe County, 5th District; James Emory Tate of Jeff Davis County, 6th District; Ben Boyd of Screven County, 7th District; Don Wood of Wilcox County, 8th District; Lucius Adkins, Jr. of Baker County, 9th District and Daniel Johnson, of Pierce County, 10th District. Matt Bottoms of Pike County was named chairman of the Georgia Farm Bureau Young Farmer Committee. Cathy Barber of Bacon County was named chairman of the Georgia Farm Bureau Women’s Committee. Both will serve a oneyear term as committee chairmen and will sit on the Georgia Farm Bureau Board of Directors.

November-December 2008 / 7


Farming for soldiers

Greg Smith organized Georgia’s 2009 Trees For Troops campaign in honor of his father, a World War II veteran.

By Jay Stone __________________________________________________________________________

B

oth Greg Smith and Paul Joseph are surrounded by servicemen. They live at opposite ends of the state and work in different sections of agriculture, but they wanted to make the holidays special for those serving in the armed forces. Smith’s father, Roy, was a tailgunner in World War II, during which he was taken as a prisoner of war in China after his plane went down. Joseph, vice president for sales at South Georgia Pecan Company in Valdosta, sees the impact Moody Air Force Base has in his town. Smith, of Nicholson, spearheaded the Georgia efforts in the Trees For Troops campaign, to pay homage to his father and other family members who served in the armed forces. “This is just a little something to make

the holidays brighter for the troops,” Greg said. The Trees for Troops program is designed more for those left behind by deployed servicemen. It’s a nationwide effort. This year, more than 16,000 trees were donated from 29 states, including more than 1,200 from Georgia, where 500 were taken to families living on Fort Gordon. The rest were distributed to the families of deployed National Guard troops. When a local citizen asked Joseph how to go about shipping care packages to military troops deployed to the Middle East, he took the idea and added a twist. Joseph not only agreed to help, but he convinced SGPC owner Jim Worn to send some of the company’s signature product. Worn recognized the heavy military presence in Valdosta,

where virtually no part of the town goes Greg Smith unaffected during war time, and agreed to send pecans to deployed troops at company cost. A 1-pound bag of pecans, which would retail for $7, is sold and shipped for $5. Joseph was hoping to send 1,000 bags to military personnel during the 2009 holiday season. He said that by Dec. 3, the date of the first 2009 shipment, around 650 bags had been sold. Most SGPC customers shopping in the company’s Valdosta store have added a bag or two to their orders. Customers who buy pecans for soldiers get a label to write a holiday message to the troops. SGPC also See SOLDIERS page 11

AWARDS from page 7 ington counties. Finalists in the 3,001-plus member division were: Barrow, Chattooga, Coweta, Habersham, Henry, Jackson, McDuffie, Madison and Newton counties. Longtime Crawford County Farm Bureau member Charlie Frank Harris received the Georgia Farm Bureau Distinguished Service Award. This award is the highest honor GFB can give one of its volunteer leaders and is designed to recognize a volunteer Farm Bureau leader who has made an outstanding contribution to the organization and agriculture over a long period of time. Harris has been an active member of the Crawford County Farm Bureau since 1949. He served as county president from 1961 to 1962. He was elected as the CCFB treasurer in 1962 and still holds the position. He has served on numerous committees for Farm Bureau and other ag organizations and currently serves on the GFB Water Advisory Committee. Cory and Janie Tyre of Bacon County were named the Young Farmer Achievement winners. The Tyres produce hay, wheat and soybeans on their farm near

Mershon, Ga. They received a $500 cash prize from Dodge Truck and a year’s use of a Kubota tractor for being named the state winner. Other finalists in the GFB Young Farmer Achievement Contest were Steven and Tiffany Metcalf of Turner County and Charlie and Nancie Sanders of Greene County. The Metcalfs grow cotton, peanuts, soybeans and wheat and raise cattle. The Sanders are active partners in their family dairy farm, which averages a 375-head milking herd. Nancie Sanders of Greene County beat 16 other contestants to win the Young Farmer Discussion Meet. The three finalists in the discussion meet were Jonathan Fordham of Bleckley County, Will Godowns of Pike County and Phil Tyre of Bacon County. Sanders received a $500 cash award courtesy of the Dodge Truck Division of Daimler Chrysler Corp. and an Arctic Cat 500 all-terrain vehicle courtesy of the Southern Farm Bureau Life Insurance Company. The three finalists each received a $350 cash award from SunTrust Bank. Other state awards presented included:

Henry County, recipient of the Outstanding Legislative Committee Award; Chattooga County, recipient of the Outstanding Women’s Committee Award and Cherokee County, recipient of the Outstanding Promotion & Education Award and the Outstanding Young Farmer Committee Award. Ali Merk, Jackson County Farm Bureau office manager, received the Outstanding Secretary Award. Merk was recognized for her professionalism and for her work to promote the goals of Farm Bureau. She has been employed with the Jackson County Farm Bureau four years. She and her husband, Phillip, have one son, Gabe, and grow cattle and hay. GFB President Zippy Duvall recognized four of the organization’s outstanding leaders with the Georgia Farm Bureau Hero Award during the organization’s annual convention. Duvall presented James Casey of Polk County, Donald Chase of Macon County, Mike Lucas of Bleckley County and Josh White of Henry County with the award in recognition of the work they have done to promote agriculture.

8 / January-February 2010

Georgia Farm Bureau News


2010 GFB Women’s Committee named

Members of the 2010 Georgia Farm Bureau Women’s Committee were announced in December at the organization’s annual convention. Committee members are: (seated L-R) Londa Champion, Jasper County, 5th District; Sandi Mitcham, Newton County, 3rd District; Committee Chairman Cathy Barber, Bacon County, 10th District; Donna Powell, Grady County, 9th District and Linda Crumley, Barrow County, 4th Dis-

trict; (standing L-R) Nanette Bryan, Chattooga County, 1st District; Melanie Raines, Turner County, 8th District; Charlotte Ward,

Elbert County, 2nd District; Shirley Jarriel, Tattnall County, 7th District and Beth Kirkland, Jeff Davis County, 6th District.

GFB Educational Leadership Conference in Augusta Farm Bureau members interested in mastering the skills of leadership should make plans to attend GFB’s annual Educational Leadership Conference. The event will be held Saturday and Sunday, March 20-21 at the Augusta Marriott Hotel and Suites located on the Augusta Riverwalk. Workshop topics will include enhancing the energy of your leadership skills, agriculture activities for the classroom

and being prepared for an emergency on the farm. Kirsten Underwood, a former Clovers & Company member and agriculture communications major at ABAC, will provide the entertainment Saturday night. The Georgia Country & Gospel Music Association recently recognized Kirsten as Teen Female Entertainer of the Year. She also won Songwriter of the Year

with her song “’72 Chevy” and Video of the Year for her concert performance of another original “Back Home in Georgia.” She will make her Nashville debut on Feb. 21 at the Wild Horse Saloon. Registration is $65 per person. Hotel cost is $119 plus state and local tax. Deadline to register is March 10. Contact your local Farm Bureau office for more details and to register.

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January-February 2010 / 9


commodities/marketing update Don McGough, Commodites/Marketing Director

T

he new year is well under way and farmers are facing difficult management decisions as they plan for a new season. Fortunately, farmers have gotten some relief on energy and fertilizer prices compared to this time last year, but this may be short lived. Other inputs such as seed and chemicals are projected to increase creating higher production costs. Let’s examine the situation for this year as we look to optimize production opportunities. Georgia’s peanut, cotton, corn and soybean crops had good yields in 2009. Peanut farmers averaged a record 3,530 pounds per acre on 505,000 harvested acres with prices ranging from $375 to $400 per ton. The price farmers receive for their peanuts is expected to increase in 2010, according to UGA Extension Economist Dr. Nathan Smith. The peanut supply/demand situation is improving as carryover stocks will be down about 30 percent. Dr. Smith stated that if corn remains at $4 per bushel and soybeans above $9 per bushel, then peanut prices will need to rise above $400 per ton in order to see a significant acreage increase. A 5 percent increase in trend average yields will still be below total consumption and positive for prices as stocks would continue to be worked down. Cotton acreage is expected to increase a modest amount this year as the world economy shows some signs of expansion. The latest projections call for the global economy to grow by about 3 percent in 2010 after a contraction of just over 1 percent in 2009. This growth is fragile and consumers may restrain from spending if confidence remains low. Competition for acres will be interesting as prices inch upward. U.S. acres are projected to be between 10 and 10.4 million, up from 9.14 million acres last year. Georgia corn growers should have opportunities to sell $4 corn in 2010 but will need to keep watch for opportuni-

10 / January-February 2010

Ag’s 2010 economic outlook ties during the winter. The fundamentals of the corn market remain fairly stable and production will likely look to keep up with the pace of record consumption. Corn prices have tended to follow crude oil prices as ethanol makes up the second largest use of corn now. Fuel prices are expected to rise in 2010, which may help support corn prices. Bidding for acres between soybeans, corn and wheat may not be as competitive as once expected. Soybeans are expected to drop in price due to an increased U.S. and global supply. Concerns for soybeans in 2010 are an increase in U.S. and global stocks of soybeans. Production costs have moderated due to lower fertilizer and fuel prices, but seed costs are higher. Fuel prices are expected to increase, while chemical prices will likely remain high. Soybean acreage in the U.S. is expected to remain around 77 million or even slightly increase due to fewer wheat acres. Credit availability will be an overall concern for farming in 2010 but soybean acreage may benefit due to a lower cost of production. In recent years, animal agriculture has faced its share of issues with higher feed costs and increased energy costs. Dr. John McKissick, director of the UGA Center for Agribusiness and Economic Development, says Georgia’s animal industry sector has also suffered from weakened demand brought about by global and U.S. economic woes. In many cases, lower demand has resulted in lower meat and milk product prices. The most significant blow to Georgia livestock production was the business restructuring of Pilgrim’s Pride last year and the subsequent closure of several Georgia plants, which eliminated some Georgia growers. Georgia broiler production has declined along with related businesses. After suffering record high feed costs in 2008 and 2009, livestock producers and animal-related agribusinesses are

expected to see lower feed costs work through the system this year. After experiencing record-high milk prices in 2008, dairy producers suffered record low prices last year and reductions in production are imminent. Product prices should also improve as the production adjustments of 2009 improve the overall meat and milk supply/demand balances in 2010. Last year, Georgia’s ornamental horticulture industry and related landscape services sector continued to feel the lingering impacts of water restrictions implemented due to the drought that gripped Georgia from 2007 to early 2009. The housing industry crisis and decline in consumer spending brought about additional economic woes. While many of the water restrictions have been reduced, the industry’s rebound in 2010 will be highly dependent on a recovery in consumer spending for horticulture industry products and services. On the farm level, farmers had to contend with commodity and livestock prices lower than anticipated when most production decisions were made earlier in 2009. As a result, the USDA Economic Research Service estimates a 38 percent drop in net farm income for the U.S. farm sector in 2009 relative to its 2008 level. Georgia’s farm income will not likely fall as much and should actually improve in 2010. Georgia farm real estate values dropped by 7 percent from their 2008 levels as a result of diminished commercial and residential development activities, decreasing demand for recreational land and declining farm commodity prices discouraging more aggressive farm real estate investment decisions. As we enter 2010, we are cautiously optimistic about farm income levels, but realize potentially higher input costs will temper any major improvements. Don McGough is director of the GFB Commodities/Marketing Department. Georgia Farm Bureau News


GFB members serving on AFBF Committees Georgia Farm Bureau will be represented on 11 American Farm Bureau Commodity Committees this year. GFB Poultry Committee Chairman Phil Sanders of Oglethorpe County has been named chairman of the AFBF Poultry Committee. The AFBF committees provide farmer input to the organization’s policy development process. Each committee reviews AFBF policy that impacts their respective commodities and makes recommendations to the AFBF Board of Directors. The committees will meet in mid-February in San Antonio, Texas. Other GFB members serving on AFBF Committees are: John Davis, Whitfield County, Forestry; Harold Fallin, Upson County, Aquaculture; Larry Haley, Hart County, Hay/Forage; Greg Murray, Decatur County, Labor; Bobby Rowell, Brantley County, Honey/Apiculture; Wes Shannon, Tift County, Peanuts; Dr. James Strickland, SOLDIERS from page 8 sells pecans and holiday packages online and through a mail-order catalog. “In the past I’ve had a lot of response from the troops,” said Joseph, who noted that SGPC has been sending pecans to troops since the U.S. began deploying troops to Afghanistan in late 2001. “It’s really inspiring to hear back from them and know you’re doing something good for them.” Joseph developed contacts with military personnel, including a chaplain in Afghanistan who receives the shipments of pecans and distributes them to soldiers and airmen. “One of the notes I got back said that when these guys are leaving their bases they’re asking for things in small packages they can take with them,” Joseph said. “It’s a very nutritious snack and it can be wrapped in a small package. It’s easy to carry with them.” The company has also worked with Oliver North’s Freedom Alliance to arrange delivery of the nuts to injured servicemen in overseas military hospitals. For more information about these programs benefiting American servicemen, visit www.treesfortroops.org or call SGPC ateorgia 800-627-6630. G Farm Bureau News

Tattnall County, Animal Health; Andrew Thompson, Brooks County, Swine; Lamar Vickers, Berrien County, Tobacco and Michael Williams, Bleckley County, Cotton. Nine other GFB members have been selected as alternates to serve on the AFBF committees. Those members are: Terry Bramlett, Fannin County, Aquaculture; Larry Cooley, Crawford County, Poultry; Eddie Green, Dooly County, Cotton; Mike Lucas, Bleckley

County, Peanuts; Jimmy Kennedy, Hancock County, Forestry; Jesse McCurdy, Houston County, Honey/ Apiculture; Farrell Roberts, Tift County, Hay/For- Phil Sanders age; Steve Wilhoit, Whitfield County, Swine and Jerry Wooten, Jeff Davis County, Tobacco.

GA Peanut Commission directors renominated

Armond Morris of Irwin County, Rodney Dawson of Pulaski County and Donald Chase of Macon County have been renominated, without opposition, to continue representing their respective districts on the Georgia Peanut Commission Board of Directors for another three-year term. Morris, the commission chairman, represents the commission’s

District Two; Dawson represents District Four and Chase represents District Five. Peanut growers from these districts renominated the incumbents during nomination meetings held in December. The GPC conducts numerous activities that promote Georgia’s peanut industry, support industry research and educate producers about industry issues.

January-February 2010 / 11


Pictured from left, Georgia Fruit and Vegetable Growers Association Executive Director Charles Hall, Dr. David Gombas and Adam Lytch of L&M Farms discuss how produce growers should handle a product recall by the FDA.

Fruit & vegetable conference addresses food safety issues

By Jennifer Whittaker __________________________________________________________________________ Food safety was a major topic at the It’s possible that harmonized GAPS annual Southeast Regional Fruit and Veg- would establish a basic set of standards etable Conference Jan. 7-10 in Savannah. all produce growers must meet, and comThe conference, sponsored by the Geor- modities considered to be high risk for gia Fruit and Vegetable Growers Associa- hosting microbes that cause foodborne illtion and Georgia Peach Council, provided nesses would have additional standards to updates on food safety legislation Congress satisfy, said Beth Bland with the GFVGA. is considering and industry-driven ini- Gombas also outlined key aspects tiatives designed to establish food safety of food safety legislation the U.S. House standards for fresh produce to prevent passed last year and a bill the Senate is foodborne illnesses. expected to vote on by April. The Food Dr. David Gombas, senior vice presi- Safety Enhancement Act introduced by dent of food safety and technology for the Rep. John Dingell (D-MI) directs the FDA United Fresh Produce Association (UFPA), to write regulations to cover fresh produce described the effort representatives from production and requires the FDA to estaball segments of the produce supply chain lish traceability regulations and prevent are making to harmonize the good agri- produce that can’t be traced from entering cultural practice standards (GAPS) various the food system, Gombas said. Senate bill commodities have established so that one S 510, introduced by Sen. Richard Durbin audit by an accredited third party is accept- (D-Ill.), also requires mandatory producable to all buyers. A technical working tion standards and compliance provisions group that includes growers, shippers, pro- to sell produce. Both give the FDA recall cessors, foodservice, retail and association authority over food testing positive for staff representatives is meeting monthly contaminants that pose a health risk. and aims to complete a draft proposal by Dr. Elliot Grant discussed the Produce October. Traceability Initiative (PTI) sponsored by “We’re looking for a standard that can the UFPA, Canadian Produce Marketing fit all of North America. We’re looking at Association and Produce Marketing Assoall existing audit standards for different ciation, which utilizes a global trade item segments of the produce industry and will number (GTIN) and UPC barcode system attempt to use the best parts of each of to allow produce to be traced from the these,” Gombas said. grower to retailer on a case level. 12 / January-February 2010

Grant is the chief marketing officer of HarvestMark, one of several companies that assist growers in acquiring their GTINs and setting up their tracking systems. Growers will pay a onetime fee for their GTINs that could range from $3,000 to $20,000 depending on the number of codes a producer requests. Producers will also pay an annual renewal fee to maintain their GTINs ranging from $500 to $1,000 and will need to purchase hardware and software to print the labels. “This initiative allows a product holder to determine if they have produce that is part of a recall that needs to be withdrawn from the market,” Grant said. “Eventually the government will require it and buyers will require it. For retailers to receive a case of produce without a PTI label will be cost prohibitive because they are set up to read labels.” Having lived through an FDA recall of cantaloupes last May, Adam Lytch of L&M Farms, based in Raleigh, N.C., says an industry-wide traceability system could be a valuable tool for growers. “If the PTI program had been fully implemented, we could have narrowed our recall from three states to two and from 120 stores to 73 or fewer.” L&M Farms issued a recall for cantaloupes grown by one of its contract growers in south Florida after a routine FDA test of melons taken straight from the field tested positive for salmonella. Although L&M Farms routinely cleans its produce in a chlorine bath before shipping as a food safety precaution, Gombas explained that the FDA has the authority to test produce straight from the field because cooking is the only step the agency recognizes as a kill step for microbes. No illnesses were linked to the recall, and FDA couldn’t find a source for the salmonella. “The way to survive a recall is to be prepared and to have a plan in place to deal with a recall,” Gombas said. “You need to have people who are involved in the dayto-day operation of your business involved with your recall team.” Gombas recommended designating one company spokesperson to give consistent information to both the media and government. Growers may want to consider investing in recall insurance to See FOOD SAFETY next page Georgia Farm Bureau News


During the GFB 10th District Annual Meeting, Lanier County Farm Bureau Office Manager Melody Register (left) and President Larry Moore (right) presented food the county collected during the statewide Georgia Farm Bureau Harvest for All campaign to Buck Blalock (center) with Second Harvest of South Georgia, a Valdosta food bank.

Harvest for All yields bounty of donations

By Jennifer Whittaker __________________________________________________________________________

Georgia Farm Bureau’s 2009 Harvest for All campaign yielded more than 11,000 pounds of staple food items and raised $8,276, which was donated to food banks across the state that are affiliated with the Feeding America food bank network. Beginning in September, GFB collected food at its 10 district meetings. Each district had a designated food bank to which the food was sent. Donations were accepted from every county Farm Bureau across the state. “As farmers, we’re in the business of feeding people,” said GFB President Zippy FOOD SAFETY from previous page cover profit losses associated with recalling a product. Lytch said L&M Farms survived its recall with little negative repercussions because it and its contract grower had audit records showing they utilized GAPS and had practiced a mock recall. He also believes contacting all of the company’s retail customers to inform them about the recall, even the ones not involved, helped the company retain customers. “It’s important to be prepared for a possible recall by having audits in place and getting trained because once the recall is in effect you’re busy,” Lytch said. The conference also included educational sessions for specific commodities and included a session on roadside markets, which included presentations by Georgia Farm Bureau Certified Farm Market participants Drew Echols of Jaemor Farms and Jake Carter of Southern Belle Farms. Georgia Farm Bureau News

Duvall. “It’s extremely important that we remember those whose circumstances leave them exposed to hunger. We feel like we’re in a position to do something about it, and that’s what the Harvest For All program is about.” The Georgia Farm Bureau Young Farmer and Women’s Committees coordinated the Harvest For All Campaign. “We appreciate everyone who donated food items or cash during our annual food drive,” GFB Young Farmer Committee Chairman Matt Bottoms said. “Your generosity helped make the holidays a little easier

for many Georgians in need.” A network of food banks across the state affiliated with Feeding America serve Georgia. This network includes food banks in Albany, Atlanta, Athens, Augusta, Columbus, Macon, Savannah and Valdosta. The primary function of the food banks is to secure food donations and serve as distribution centers. At their warehouses, the food banks inspect, stock and then distribute donated food items to more than 800 nonprofit agencies throughout Georgia. Some of the partner agencies include food pantries, homeless shelters, soup kitchens, domestic abuse facilities, senior centers and daycare centers for low-income children. Feeding America, the largest domestic hunger-relief charity in the United States, was previously known as America’s Second Harvest. Since 2004, GFB has held five Harvest For All food drives through which GFB members from across the state have donated approximately 49,000 pounds of staple food items and $20,478 in cash donations distributed to Georgia’s eight food banks that are affiliated with Feeding America. In 2005, GFB members collected 17,000 pounds of food, which were donated to victims of Hurricane Katrina in Hancock County, Miss., where the eye of the storm hit.

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January-February 2010 / 13


Peanut flour gives cooks a new ingredient By Jay Stone ___________________________________ group of peanut producers near Fitzgerald is making peanut flour from their crop in hopes of capitalizing on the versatility of peanuts. The reason behind the development of peanut flour by Protein Plus, LLC, was pretty simple: Producers wanted another way to use the peanuts they were harvesting. “This was just one area that didn’t seem to be used,” said Protein Plus Chairman Chip Dorminy. “It’s a niche market.” The peanut farmers in Dorminy’s group ship their peanuts to American Blanching in Fitzgerald, owned by stakeholder Allen Conger. After the nuts are blanched and mashed into paste, they’re carted in 46,000-pound tanker trucks across town to Protein Plus, where the paste is pulverized into flour, vacuumpacked and prepped for shipment. The process also produces peanut oil as a by-product, but the main goal was the flour, which the 11-man limited liability company felt could be marketed as a pro-

A

Packages of peanut flour processed at a farmer-owned plant in Fitzgerald make their way through the assembly line.

tein-powered alternative to grain-based flour. The stakeholders of Protein Plus believe the possibilities for their flour are numerous. Other manufacturers are already infusing energy bars with proteinrich nuts. Cooking with peanut flour can increase the protein content in just about any food, and it’s free of glutens associated with grain-based flour. Dorminy said peanut flour was intended for use as a flavor enhancement and not as a total replacement for traditional flour. He noted that one part peanut flour mixed with two parts regular

Nabila Covington, owner of Nabila’s Garden Restaurant in Fitzgerald, prepares a variety of dishes at her restaurant using the peanut flour. 14 / January-February 2010

flour is recommended when baking. Peanut flour will not rise. They didn’t have to venture far to find a test kitchen. Nabila Covington, owner of Nabila’s Garden Restaurant in Fitzgerald, agreed to test the peanut flour, which she uses in a variety of dishes. “It was very easy to assemble, to mix up,” said Covington, whose restaurant is a popular Sunday lunch destination in Fitzgerald. “It’s healthy. That’s what I love about it. I wish I’d heard about it before. People who do sports, it’s good for them.” There’s reason to believe there could be other benefits, as well. Researchers in England found that eating yogurt with peanut flour mixed in could help increase peanut tolerance in children who are allergic to peanuts. The company is also selling a peanut protein powder with a particle size smaller than flour that makes it ideal to add to cold drinks. “We can refine it down so that it can be used in drinks and shakes and mixes and ice creams and stuff like that,” Conger said. “We have a way of refining it down to a [small enough size] that fits in liquids and shakes and anything fluid so that it doesn’t settle down so fast.” Conger said the company is working toward distributing the vacuum-sealed 1-pound bags to chain stores for retail sale, and from there, the possibilities seem endless. Visit www.proteinplusflour.com or call 229-423-5528 for more information, Georgia Farm Bureau News


GFB Hay Contest winners named

Neal Pannell of Walton County won first prize in the Georgia Farm Bureau Quality Hay Contest. Winners were announced during the GFB Annual Convention, held Dec. 6-8 on Jekyll Island. Pannell, who submitted a sample of Sungrazer Bermuda hay for the contest, receives the use of a Vermeer trail mower for one year with the option to purchase it at a discount at the end of the year, compliments of Vermeer. Keith Boozer, also of Walton County, finished second with his Tift 44 Bermuda and received a moisture meter from Whipple Simpson (Simpco). Chattooga County Farm Bureau President Wayne Hurley captured third place for his Russell Bermuda and received a Carhartt vest provided by the GFB Hay Committee. Wheeler County Farm Bureau President Thomas Mercer claimed fourth place and two rolls of baling twine provided by Palmer Equipment for his Alicia Bermuda. Modene Butler of Brooks County finished fifth and won a gift basket from GreenSouth Equipment and Georgia Farm Bureau. The contest drew 40 entries from 21 counties. The University of Georgia analyzed the entries using its Relative Forage Quality test. GFB sponsors the annual contest to encourage superior hay production in the state.

Prowl H2O labeled for use in Bermudagrass hay By Tim R. Murphy ___________________________________ For many years, high-quality Bermudagrass hay producers have needed a pre-emergence herbicide to control crabgrass, goosegrass, Texas panicum, sandbur and other summer annual grasses. BASF announced January 21that Prowl H2O is now labeled for use on forage Bermudagrass. Prowl H2O has been used for years to control annual grass in numerous row crops such as cotton and soybeans. The active ingredient in Prowl H2O, pendimethalin, is also used under different trade names for a similar purpose in turfgrasses and ornamentals. This new use for Prowl H2O will be shown on a supplemental label. Over the next few days or weeks, BASF will be obtaining state registrations for Prowl H2O. The supplemental label will then be posted at www.cdms.net. At this time, Prowl H2O will only be labeled for applications to dormant Bermudagrass.  Applications to tall fescue, bahiagrass, and other perennial forage grasses are currently not approved. However, it is expected that these forage grasses will eventually be added to the label. Precautions & reminders for using Prowl H2O on forage Bermudagrass 1. Prowl H2O may be applied to forage Bermudagrass grown for hay or pastures. 2. Apply Prowl H2O to established Bermudagrass when in winter dormancy in the late winter and early spring months. In most areas of Georgia this time period is February through early March. 3. Crabgrass begins to germinate when soil temperatures average 55 F. Prowl H2O

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must be applied before crabgrass or other annual grasses germinate. 4. Recommended rates of Prowl H2O range from 1.1 to 4.2 quarts per acre. Research conducted in Georgia has shown that usually 2 to 3 lbs. ai/acre (2.1 to 3.2 quarts per acre) is needed for season-long annual grass control.   5. Prowl H2O may be applied in two split applications. In forage Bermudagrass the second application must be made prior to spring greenup. See the Prowl H2O label for additional information on split applications. 6. Prowl H2O may be tank-mixed with other herbicides registered for use on forage bermudagrass, 7. Fields treated with Prowl H2O cannot be harvested for 45 days after treatment. 8. Do not graze Prowl H2O–treated Bermudagrass until 60 days after application. For more information on this and other forage management issues, visit the Georgia Forages website (www.georgiaforages.com) or call your local county Extension agent by dialing 1-800-ASK-UGA1. Tim R. Murphy is a University of Georgia Cooperative Extension weed scientist.

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January-February 2010 / 15


By Jennifer Whittaker ___________________________________ Georgia cotton producers are urged to vote in the referendum for the Georgia Cotton Commission. The referendum began Feb. 4 and ends March 5. “Georgia Farm Bureau encourages all Georgia cotton producers to participate in this referendum and support the commission so it can continue the work it does to promote Georgia cotton,” GFB President Zippy Duvall said. “Since its establishment in 1965, the Georgia Cotton Commission has worked diligently to improve growing and marketing conditions for Georgia’s cotton farmers.” Under state law, Georgia cotton producers must vote every three years to determine if they want to continue the commission. The Georgia Department of Agriculture mailed ballots to growers the first of February. If you are a cotton producer and did not receive a ballot,

Photo by Donna Rocker

GA cotton referendum underway contact the Georgia Department of Agriculture Commodities Promotion Division at 1-800-282-5852. The commission is funded through a per bale assessment paid by Georgia cotton producers. All funds are used to promote Georgia’s cotton crop through research, education and promotional activities. The commission supports research conducted by the University of Georgia Cooperative Extension Cotton Team. Promotional activities include sponsorship of 4-H, FFA and Georgia Young Farmer programs, an educational exhibit about Georgia’s cotton industry displayed at consumer and agriculture industry events, such as the Georgia National Fair, and maintenance of the commission’s Web site, www. georgiacottoncommission.org. The commission also works as a liaison

between Georgia cotton growers and the National Cotton Council and the Southern Cotton Growers Association. In turn, these organizations represent the interests of Georgia producers in Washington. Five grower members - Chairman Louie Perry of Colquitt County, Vice Chairman Marvin Ruark of Morgan County, Mike Lucas of Bleckley County, Wavell Robinson of Brooks County and Jimmy Webb of Calhoun County – and ex officio members Georgia Commissioner of Agriculture Tommy Irvin and Georgia Farm Bureau President Zippy Duvall oversee commission activities. For more information about the Georgia Cotton Commission contact Richey Seaton, executive director of the Georgia Cotton Commission, via e-mail at gactn@windstream.net or by calling 478-988-4235.

GFB members encouraged to participate in 2010 Census By Jennifer Whittaker ___________________________________ The amount of state and federal funding your community receives in the next decade will be determined by the 2010 Census. That’s why Georgia Farm Bureau is encouraging its members to complete and return the 10-question census form they will receive in March by April 1. “Census counts determine not only the number of Congressional representatives we have as a state, but also, just as importantly, federal funding and resource allocation. It is crucial that farmers and rural Georgians complete and return the 2010 census so that rural Georgia is adequately counted to receive the representation and resources it deserves,” GFB President Zippy Duvall said. During the 2000 Census, Georgia’s response rate was 65 percent. After the last 16 / January-February 2010

census, many rural areas in Georgia were assigned a high “hard to count” score. Gov. Sonny Perdue formed the 2010 Census Complete Count Committee last fall to insure Georgia has the best response rate possible. Georgia Farm Bureau Associ-

tee, and I asked Mike to represent our organization because he has a good understanding of agriculture and rural Georgia gained from growing up on a diversified row crop farm in Wayne County and the 14 years he served as the field representative for GFB’s

ate Director of Field Services Mike Copeland is serving on the committee. The 43-member committee is responsible for establishing a census education program that will motivate Georgians to respond for more accurate census results. “The governor’s office asked Georgia Farm Bureau to fill a seat on this commit-

7th District,” Duvall said. The U.S. Constitution requires a national census be taken every 10 years to count the population of our nation and determine the number of seats each state will have in the U.S. House of Representatives. Data from the 2010 Census will determine See CENSUS on next page Georgia Farm Bureau News


WE, THE FARMERS from page 4 look forward to working with Director Barnes and Farm Bureau appreciates his 3-R approach to leadership. Your GFB Directors have identified four priority issues that we will concentrate on during this legislative session. After reviewing the policy the GFB voting delegates approved during our convention in December and considering the issues facing Georgia farmers, we decided our priority issues should be water, taxes and the state budget, biotechnology and the defense of animal agriculture. We will continue to monitor all legislation our state legislators are considering. We will weigh in on anything that affects farmers, but these issues have surfaced as having particular interest to our members. I’d like to thank GFB North Georgia Vice President Bernard Sims for chairing the Legislative Board Committee and GFB 1st Vice President Gerald Long and directors Marvin Ruark, David Lee, Randy Ruff and Ben Boyd for serving on the committee. They and I will be spending a lot of time in Atlanta during the next several months meeting with your state legislators and state officials. But don’t just rely on us to represent your interests. I’d like to invite all of you to join us on Feb. 17 for Farm Bureau Day at the Capitol. When your legislative board and I meet with the legislators and officials to tell them how a bill will impact Georgia agriculture, we stress that GFB is the

state’s largest general agriculture organization. This point is driven home when they attend our annual luncheon at the Georgia Freight Depot and see it filled to capacity. Any success that we have in convincing a legislator to support or oppose a bill is due in large part to the weight that you, their constituents, carry. I encourage you to read the weekly Legislative Reports our Legislative Department sends to the county offices during the session and phone your legislator to ask for their support when we ask you to. If you aren’t already receiving these reports ask your county staff to add you to their distribution list. GFB is the “Voice of Georgia Farmers,” but we need your involvement to lend strength to our voice. On Jan. 20 I had the opportunity to visit with county Farm Bureau leaders from the 8th, 9th and 10th Districts during my first tailgate lunch of the year. I hosted two of these last summer and got such positive feedback that I’m planning more this year. Tift County Farm Bureau Director Wes Shannon invited me to hold a lunch at his farm, and we invited county leaders who live within an hour’s driving distance of his farm. This type of meeting is really valuable to me because it lets me meet our farmer members in a smaller group setting. I think this encourages people to ask questions or voice concerns they might not in the large group settings of our statewide meetings. I’d like to thank Wes, Tift County

CENSUS from previous page boundaries for state and congressional districts starting with the 2012 elections. According to the U.S. Census Bureau Web site, Georgia is expected to gain one seat in the U.S. House of Representatives. In the next decade, 2010 Census data will directly impact how more than $4 trillion is allocated to local and state governments for hospitals, schools, bridges, highways, emergency services, job training centers and senior centers. The 2010 census form consists of only 10 questions and is one of the shortest forms in history. April 1 is the target date for completing and returning all forms and will be recognized as National Census Day. Between April and July, census workers will visit households that do not return a census form.

“Completing your census form should take no more than ten minutes and returning your census form will prevent the U.S. government from having to spend an estimated $30 to pay a census worker to visit your home to count your household,” Copeland said. “Returning your census form will not only ensure that your community gets the federal funding it’s entitled to but will also save your tax dollars.” By law, the Census Bureau cannot share your answers with anyone, including other federal agencies and law enforcement entities. All census employees take an oath of nondisclosure and are sworn for life to protect the confidentiality of the data. Visit www.census.georgia.gov to learn more about the 2010 Census.

Georgia Farm Bureau News

Farm Bureau President Gary Walker and Agency Manager Todd Applewhite for putting together a great tailgate! Farmers attending the lunch discussed the problems they are facing trying to secure land to rent because they can’t compete against CRP payments. Another farmer voiced concern that the recession is causing farmland values to decline since the real estate market has slowed, which will cause problems for farmers as they seek loans and find their asset/equity ratio is lower. We also discussed concerns farmers have with growing commodites under contracts. Yes, we have shot out of the gate and are off and running fast. This year will be challenging to say the least. No matter how fast we run or how difficult things get, we can find comfort in God’s word, especially this verse from Philippians 2:16: Holding fast in the word of life, so that I may rejoice in the days of Christ that I have not run in vain or labored in vain. God bless you and Georgia agriculture.

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GFB members attend By Jay Stone __________________________________________________________________________

M

ore than 150 Georgia Farm Bureau members and staff traveled to Seattle, Wash., to represent the state at the 91st Annual American Farm Bureau Federation Convention Jan. 10-13. During the convention, GFB members received presentations on crop and livestock outlooks for the coming year, money management in trying economic times, the global warming debate, communications technology and more. The convention also gave attendees a chance to network with farmers from across the country and sample the sights and sounds of the Emerald City. “It’s important for our members to see what the national organization does,” said GFB President Zippy Duvall, who sits on the AFBF Board of Directors. “We are very attentive to what’s going on in our state, and AFBF is our teammate in addressing the concerns farmers have on a national level.” Tommy Irvin, who has served as Georgia’s commissioner of agriculture since 1969, received the Distinguished Service to Agriculture Award, AFBF’s highest honor. Irvin has 51 years in public service. Before becoming agriculture

Nancie Sanders (standing) makes her closing statement during Round 1 of the AFBF Young Farmers & Ranchers Discussion Meet as Minnesota contestant Keith Allen listens.

commissioner, he was a member of the Georgia House of Representatives. Many of his efforts to improve Georgia agriculture have led to changes on the regional and national levels, and have enhanced world opinion of U.S. agriculture.

Georgia Commissioner of Agriculture Tommy Irvin (center) accepts the American Farm Bureau Federation Distinguished Service Award from AFBF President Bob Stallman (right) and Georgia Farm Bureau President Zippy Duvall (left). Georgia Farm Bureau nominated Irvin for the award. 18 / January-February 2010

Georgia Farm Bureau News


91ST AFBF Convention in Seattle “None of this would have been possible without the great support of Farm Bureau members in my state,” Irvin said. “If you work real close with the Farm Bureau staff, you can get things done. I think that’s one of the things that made it possible for us in Georgia to continue to be a leading agricultural state.” GFB won Awards of Excellence for its programs in Ag Education & Promotion, Leadership Development, Policy Implementation and Public Relations & Information. Greene County dairy farmer Nancie Sanders competed in the AFBF Young Farmer & Rancher Discussion Meet, which was won by Rachel Bina of North Dakota. Bacon County Farm Bureau members Cory and Janie Tyre represented Georgia in the Young Farmer Achievement Contest. GFB submitted 42 resolutions for consideration by the AFBF Resolutions Committee. Of those, 16 were adopted in some form, including a floor amendment calling for seed companies to refund biotechnology fees to farmers when the usefulness of that technology has diminished. GFB was also successful in getting AFBF to adopt policy recommending that poultry producers be compensated for lost income when integrators close processing plants. GFB was successful in getting the AFBF delegates to delete existing policy that calls for milk standards requiring lower somatic cell counts in fluid milk. AFBF President Bob Stallman spoke on the importance of economic sustainability for agriculture. “Without that, farmers and ranchers will not be on the land to provide all the rest of the ‘sustainables’ that some are demanding,” Stallman said during his address. Christopher Horner, a fellow at the Competitive Enterprise Institute, gave a presentation in which he detailed distortions of scientific evidence that forms the basis for global warming theory. One example: During the hottest decade on record, there were no temperature measurements at Siberian temGeorgia Farm Bureau News

perature stations because of political turmoil in the former Soviet Union, leaving the bulk of the data collection locations in urban locations in Europe and the United States. The climate change legislation that includes the “cap-and-trade” provisions, Horner said, is essentially worthless from an environmental perspective.

“It is all pain, no gain,” he said. “It is all empty gesture. It is a rationing scheme under which the state decides how much of something you may use. It will raise the price of energy.” At the closing session Duvall got the last word as he invited the rest of the country to Atlanta for the 2011 AFBF Convention saying, “Y’all come!”

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Contact your Agent to apply today. Some restrictions apply based on the make and model of equipment offered as collateral. Loans are subject to credit approval. Rates and financing are limited to models 1999 and newer and are subject to change without notice. Finance charges accrue from origination date of the loan. Financing provided by Farm Bureau Bank FSB. Banking services provided by Farm Bureau Bank, FSB. Farm Bureau Bank, FSB is a service to member institution that provides banking services to Farm Bureau members. Services are not available in AL, IL, MI, MO, MS, OH or WY and may not be available in some counties or parishes. Farm Bureau, FB and the FB National Logo are registered service marks owned by the American Farm Bureau Federation and are used under license by FB BanCorp and its subsidiaries, including Farm Bureau Bank FSB. FB BanCorp is an independent entity and the AFBF does not own, is not owned by, and is not under common ownership with FB BanCorp or its affiliated entities.

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AROUND GEORGIA News from County Farm Bureaus BACON COUNTY Bacon County Farm Bureau joined forces with the First Baptist Church of Alma and other local businesses to send more than 120 Christmas boxes to U.S. soldiers serving in Afghanistan and Iraq. A letter from the people of Bacon County was enclosed in each box telling the soldiers that Bacon County residents are praying for them and thanking them for “standing tall” for our country. Letters and cards from 5th grade students at Bacon County Elementary School and Christmas stockings made by Teresa Hutcheson, Beverly Giles and Patsy Dixon from King’s Restaurant were also included in the boxes. In a thank-you note for his box, U.S. Army Col. Kris Kenner, who is stationed in Iraq, wrote: I’ll never be able to describe the emotions it provokes to get something from home. It doesn’t have to be something expensive. Just that someone thought enough of us to take the time to engage us makes things seem not so bad. Seeing things from home gives us a glimpse of normalcy again and helps to get us through another day.”

BERRIEN COUNTY Berrien County Farm Bureau Board Member Wayne Nash (left) recently donated his time and equipment to help John Beville (right) complete his 4-H project of growing 2.5 acres of corn. John produced more than 100 bushels of corn per acre. He is in the 10th grade and is home-schooled. He is a member of the Berrien County 4-H Club and is on the 4-H Livestock Judging Team. He is the son of Berrien County Farm Bureau members John and Tonia Beville. CHATTOOGA COUNTY The Chattooga County Farm Bureau sponsored its annu20 / January-February 2010

al Cotton Patch Day Nov. 19 at the Hurley Brothers Farm. Chattooga County 5th and 7th grade students were invited out to the farm to learn about the life cycle of a cotton plant. CCFB President Wayne Hurley talked to the students about planting, growing and harvesting cotton and its many uses. COWETA The Coweta County Farm Bureau recently partnered with the county’s Master Gardeners to help the Coweta County 4-H Club buy a new mini-bus.   CCFB and the Master Gardeners each donated $10,000 for the purchase of the bus. The 4-H Club saved enough money to cover the remaining cost. CCFB President Harry Odom is pictured presenting the donation to Coweta County Extension Agent Stephanie Butcher. CRAWFORD COUNTY To celebrate Farm-City Week, the Crawford County Farm Bureau Young Farmer Committee donated $300 to the Macon Outreach ministry at Mulberry United Methodist Church for its annual Thanksgiving meal for the needy. The committee sent a letter with the donation explaining the purpose of Farm-City Week. The Young Farmers explained that, although everyone isn’t able to buy food in the United States, our country is still blessed to have the most abundant, affordable and safest food supply in the world thanks to America’s farmers.   HANCOCK COUNTY To promote vegetables, GFB’s commodity of the year, Hancock County Farm Bureau hosted a Veggie Toss booth at the John Hancock Academy Fall Festival. For one ticket, kids got to toss four veggie beanbags. Each kid was given a small bag of popcorn, a veggie bookmark and a pencil promoting agriculture. Students in Georgia Farm Bureau News


Ms. Collin’s second and third grade classes colored pictures of vegetables that were displayed in the booth for decoration along with a basket of raw veggies HCFB Women’s Chair Nancy Kennedy arranged. Third grader Natalie Roberts, a selfproclaimed vegetable lover, is shown with her winning picture for which she received a McDonald’s gift card.

its 2009 annual meeting. This father-son team runs one of only two dairies still operating in the county. The Polk County Extension Service helps select the award recipient. Pictured from right, PCFB President James Casey, Joe’s first cousin, presents the award to Greg and Joe, who serves on the PCFB Board of Directors.

HARRIS COUNTY In November, Harris County Farm Bureau sponsored a safety program for a second grade class at Park Elementary. HCFB Office Manager Linda Luttrell visited the second grade students in Mrs. Gamble’s class and discussed bicycle safety and the importance of washing your hands before handling food and eating. She also told the students how to behave around dogs and how to prevent dog bites. The lesson ended with a visit from the Hamilton Fire Department. Fire Chief Ricky Hood told the students how to call 911 in the event of an emergency and what to do if they find themselves in a burning building. Student Brandon Leslie is shown helping fire fighter Bob Kurtz man the water hose.

Georgia was well represented at the 2009 National Beef Cookoff, held Sept. 20-24, 2009, in Sonoma, Calif. Georgia Farm Bureau, the Georgia Beef Board and the Georgia Cattlewomen’s Association were silver sponsors of the event, donating $1,000 each. GCWA President-Elect and Lumpkin County Farm Bureau member Brenda Brookshire served as chairwoman of the outdoor grilling category, while Troup County Farm Bureau member Marcia Callaway and Georgia Beef Board staffer Ashley Hughes served as volunteer workers at the event. Georgia cooks submitted 21 of the 2,418 total recipes received for the event. Cookoff Emcee Chef Richard Chamberlain (second from left) poses with the Georgia delegation, pictured from left of Callaway, Brookshire and Hughes.

LEE COUNTY When the Lee County Farm Bureau decked its halls for Christmas, it decided to promote Georgia peanuts by decorating its office Christmas tree using the Georgia Peanut Commission’s signature red foil peanut packets. “Members who have visited the office have commented on our tree and the unique ornaments,” Women’s Committee Chairman Donna Sumners said. The women’s committee also collected a variety of toys and clothing that were donated to the Lee County Dept. of Family & Children Services. POLK COUNTY Polk County Farm Bureau presented Joe and Greg Casey with the organization’s annual Farmer of the Year Award during Georgia Farm Bureau News

GFB sponsors National Beef Cookoff

Georgia FFA Blue & Gold Gala March 12 Georgia Aquarium Oceans Ballroom Atlanta Enjoy breathtaking underwater views, fine dining and bid on auction items to benefit the Georgia FFA. Auction items include a lunch and tour of the Governor’s mansion for eight hosted by Georgia First Lady Mary Perdue, a round of golf with Lt. Gov. Casey Cagle, several guided hunts and a year’s use of a McCormick tractor. Contact Ariail Smith at 770-4355586 or GAFFAGALA@capitolstrategy.us to inquire about tickets or sponsorship opportunities.

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Photo by Jay Stone

Ribbon cutting ceremony held for Cochran museum

Jewell Trunell of Cochran Better Hometown cuts the ribbon dedicating the CochranBleckley Cotton and Peanut Museum during ceremonies held Oct. 16. The museum, funded by a USDA grant, features written narratives and photos detailing the county’s agricultural history. The dedication included speeches from Cochran native Laura Meadows (far left), former director of the GFB legislative department, and Bruce Green from the Georgia Department of Economic Development (second from left). Both speakers praised Cochran Better Hometown for its efforts to honor agriculture and create a tourism stop in Bleckley County.

H-2A transition period extended The U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) has extended the transition period for the H-2A Guest Worker Application, originally set to expire Jan. 1, to June 1. DOL extended the transition period to consider possible changes to the H-2A rule, which governs how agricultural operations recruit seasonal workers. The transition period is intended to allow employers to gradually change their process for recruiting domestic and foreign workers to comply with the Dec. 18, 2008, H-2A final rule. The extension is the latest DOL attempt to negate changes to the H-2A program that were put in place during the last days of the Bush administration. In March, DOL proposed to suspend updates to the H-2A program and reinstate the previous H-2A rules to allow time for judicial and administrative reviews. DOL allowed only 10 days for public comments on the proposal; 30 days is the standard time period for public comments. In June, a U.S. District Court in North Carolina issued a preliminary injunction preventing that suspension. In October 2009 the DOL proposed amendments to the H-2A rules that rescinded many of the important changes that had, in the view of Farm Bureau, made the program a more viable tool for agricultural producers to access laborers they need to plant and harvest their crops. One of

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the proposed changes would require H-2A employers to conduct recruitment after submitting an application for participation in the program rather than before. The proposed changes also made penalties for noncompliance more severe. Farm Bureau submitted comments on the proposed changes, saying that DOL used faulty reasoning and placed too much emphasis on isolated incidents that it might have misinterpreted. Further, DOL in many cases had resources at its disposal to correct problems that exist in the current version of H-2A without overhauling the entire program. Farm Bureau contends that the proposed changes would serve as barriers for producers to use the H-2A program and would in effect promote the employment of unauthorized workers.

USDA partners with IRS to verify farm program eligibility

The USDA announced Dec. 31, 2009, that it is partnering with the Internal Revenue Service to verify the eligibility of those who receive farm program payments. This partnership is intended to ensure payments are not issued to producers whose adjusted gross income (AGI) exceeds permitted limits. The 2008 farm bill set these limits: $500,000 non-farm average AGI for commodity/disaster programs, $750,000 farm average AGI for direct payments and $1 million non-farm average AGI for conservation programs. Beginning in January, the Farm Service Agency (FSA) and Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) will send consent forms to payment recipients that must be completed and returned to the IRS by June 15 for payment recipients to retain their eligibility. The USDA developed an electronic verification process with the IRS that will review data from tax returns, perform a series of calculations and compare these values to the AGI limitations the 2008 farm bill established. After the IRS has reviewed the tax data of farm program participants, the FSA and NRCS will receive notification indicating whether or not the program participant appears to meet the income limits. No actual tax data will be included in the report the IRS sends to the FSA and NRCS. In an effort to protect the privacy of payment recipients, See IRS next page

USDA issues poultry transparency rule In an effort to ensure that the marketplace for poultry growers is free of unfair or deceptive practices, the USDA’s Grain Inspection, Packers and Stockyards Administration (GIPSA) has amended the Packers and Stockyards Act of 1921 to provide poultry growers with new information and improve transparency in poultry growing arrangements. The rule, which became effective Jan. 4, requires that poultry growers be pro-

vided a “true written copy” of any poultry growing arrangement in a timely manner. This is to include information about any performance improvement plans or provisions for written termination notices of the growing arrangement. In a departure from past practices, it also allows growers to discuss the terms of poultry growing arrangements with designated individuals. Visit www.gipsa.usda.gov for more details on the rule. Georgia Farm Bureau News


GA tobacco referendum set for Feb. 24-March 25 Georgia tobacco growers have the opportunity to reaffirm the Georgia Tobacco Commission in a referendum beginning Feb. 24 and ending March 25. All Georgia tobacco producers should receive a ballot by mail from the Georgia Department of Agriculture. Tobacco producers who do not receive a ballot should contact the Georgia Department of Agriculture Commodities Promotion Division at 404-656-3678. State law requires that Georgia tobacco producers vote every three years to determine whether to continue the commission. The commission, funded by tobacco growers through an assessment of 30 cents per hundred-weight collected at the point of sale, was established in 1962 for the purpose of supporting the industry through research, promotion and extension education programs. Commission activities are overseen by five grower members – Chairman Fred Wetherington of Lowndes County, Daryl Metts of Coffee County, Paul Folsom of Lanier County, Daniel Johnson of Pierce County IRS from previous page the USDA has arranged for producers whose eligibility is questioned to work with their state FSA office instead of their local office. If a producer is flagged for exceeding the AGI limit, he will have 30 days to provide the state FSA office with verification from a third party, such as a lawyer or certified public accountant, to prove he has not exceeded AGI limits. The list of producers who are red-flagged by the IRS for potentially exceeding the AGI limits will not be subject to Freedom of Information Act requests, so these names will not be made public. In related news, beginning with the 2010 program year, USDA has amended eligibility requirements for the Direct & Countercyclical Program and the Average Crop Revenue Election Program. Now, to be considered actively engaged in farming, every stockholder or member of a legal entity doesn’t have to contribute labor or management if at least half of the interest in the legal entity is held by stockholders or members who are providing active personal labor or management that qualifies as a significant contribution and total direct payments received by the legal entity and each of the members is less than $40,000. Georgia Farm Bureau News

and Ricky Tucker of Berrien County – and ex officio members Georgia Commissioner of Agriculture Tommy Irvin and Georgia Farm Bureau President Zippy Duvall. “During these critical times that our industry is facing, it is more important than ever to have grower support for our ongoing tobacco research and education programs,” Wetherington said. “We must ensure that Georgia’s tobacco quality and yields stay competitive with other growing regions.” The commission has funded research that includes the testing of flue-cured seed varieties, sucker control trials, black shank and nematode management studies, and multiple on-farm tests of fertilizers, pesticides and herbicides. The commission’s main research objective continues to be researching production practices and treatments that will reduce symptoms of Tomato Spotted Wilt Virus. For more information about commission activities call 229-386-3468.

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Georgia Farm Bureau News - January / February 2010