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January 11, 2018

Vol. 36 No. 1

AFBF CONVENTION TRANSFORMS GFB ATTENDEES Transform was the key word of the 99th Annual American Farm Bureau Federation (AFBF) Convention held Jan. 5-10 in Nashville, Tennessee, at the Opryland Hotel and Convention Center. More than 200 Georgia Farm Bureau (GFB) members traveled to Music City for the convention, which included a rousing speech by President Donald Trump - the first U.S. president since George H. Bush in 1992 to speak at the AFBF convention – encouraging words from U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue and a motivational talk by Reba McEntire. AFBF President Zippy Duvall was re-elected for a second term. “I’ve been attending AFBF conventions for many years and I think it was one of the best yet. Our members had the historic chance to hear from a sitting president who supports farmers and has pledged to support rural America,” GFB President Gerald Long said. “The workshops offered were top-notch and will help our members as they advocate for agriculture back home in their communities and handle the day-to-day running of their farms.” GFB members competed in the AFBF Young Farmer & Ranchers events on Jan. 6 and 7. Guill Kellogg, GFB’s 3rd District Young Farmer Chairman from Cobb The next issue of County, started Saturday off with a bang by running faster than 76 GFB News Alert other runners to capture first place in the Farm to 5K. Kellogg braved comes out early morning temperatures in the teens to run the 3.1 mile race through January 24. Nashville’s Two Rivers Park in 20 minutes, 16 seconds. “If you want to know why I ran so fast I wanted to get out of the cold,” Kellogg was overheard joking with someone. Make no mistake, his win wasn’t luck. He ran cross country and track at Chicago State University. He regularly competes in 5ks and trains about three days a week by running 3.1 miles. Hancock County Farm Bureau members Josh and Skye Pennino competed in the Excellence in Agriculture event by delivering a presentation describing their cattle and hay farm, their off-farm jobs as a livestock auctioneer/relocation specialist (Josh) and assistant district attorney (Skye) and their ag advocacy efforts as Farm Bureau members. The couple are first-generation farmers. Pike County Farm Bureau member Will Godowns talked his way into the third of four rounds of competition in the AFBF YF&R Discussion Meet. Will had this advice for any GFB Young Farmers thinking about entering the 2018 contest: "Don't worry about how you think you talk or about the audience or what others might say. Just look at it as being in a small group of friends talking about -continued on next page

GFB News Alert page 2 of 15 Continued from previous page agriculture. Don't let it be something you're afraid of." Having competed in the GFB discussion meet event for several years, Godowns says his favorite thing about the event is being able to sit down with other people and discuss how issues affect others on their farms. “I’m a product of the GFB Young Farmer Program,” Godowns said. “Competing in this event through the years has developed my speaking and analytical skills. All of the Farm Bureau Young Farmer programs I’ve participated in such as the trip to Washington and Futures & Commodities Trip to Chicago have helped me in my career as a manager of a cow-calf operation.” Thomas and Alicia Harrell of Madison County Farm Bureau represented Georgia in the AFBF YF&R Achievement contest. The Harrells raise broilers, beef cattle and hay. The first-generation farmers also have a business making and installing livestock handling equipment for cattle producers and county/school livestock arenas. While none of Georgia’s young farmer contestants advanced to the final round of competition, they all did an excellent job of representing Georgia agriculture. Greg and Rose Hartschuh of Ohio won the Excellence in Agriculture Award; Martha Smith of Colorado won the Discussion Meet. Russell and Amelia Kent of Louisiana won the Achievement Award. “I’m very proud of how our young farmer contestants represented our state in each of their events,” Long said. “Their passion and commitment to agriculture was evident in their presentations and interviews. I came away knowing the future of Georgia agriculture is in good hands.” Georgia also had a strong presence in the IDEAg Trade Show where Hall County Farm Bureau was among 24 county Farm Bureaus nationwide selected to display exhibits about their innovative county programs as recipients of AFBF’s County Activities of Excellence (CAE) Awards program. HCFB showcased its Hall Grows Real Opportunities With Students (GROWS) program, which successfully installed Ag in the Classroom curriculum in six schools during the 2016-2017 school year to reach more than 700 students last year. The Hall Grows program included 21 county volunteers who visited the classrooms of 27 teachers. HCFB received $2,250 in prize money to further its program. HCFB was one of four states to be selected in the 3,001 to 5,000 county membership group. Awards were also presented in the following membership groups: membership of less than 1,000 members, 1,001-3,000 members, more than 5,001 members, and for collaborative multi-county activities regardless of membership size. “GFB was proud to have Hall County Farm Bureau showcasing their Hall GROWS Ag in the Classroom program as a recipient of the County of Excellence Award in the trade show,” Long said. The Georgia Peanut Commission also participated in the trade show handing out snack packs of peanuts that kept convention attendees from getting hungry. -continued on next page

GFB News Alert page 3 of 15 Continued from previous page During the opening general session, GFB was recognized as an Awards of Excellence state for demonstrating outstanding achievements in all four member program areas recognized - advocacy; engagement/outreach; leadership/business development; and membership value. Country music superstar, actress and designer Reba McEntire talked about the work ethic she learned growing up on a cattle ranch in Oklahoma and her faith while having a “living room” style conversation with AFBF President Zippy Duvall and his wife, Bonnie, during the closing general session. “You need three things in life – a wishbone, a backbone and a funny bone,” McEntire said. “You always have to have something to look forward to – that’s the wishbone. Being a woman in a man’s world you’ve got to have a backbone. I grew up in a man’s world [on the family ranch]. I knew I had to work harder to get ahead. I just worked harder and didn’t complain. I understood the rules. I did have plenty of men to mentor me. If you don’t have a sense of humor I feel for you. You can’t take things seriously. You have to be able to laugh at yourself. When I realized my son, Shelby, could laugh at himself was one of my proudest days.” Speaking of her faith, McEntire said, “My heart goes out to anybody that doesn’t know the Lord because with the Lord you’re never alone.” GFB POLICY ADOPTED BY AFBF VOTING DELEGATES Georgia Farm Bureau Directors represented Georgia farmers in the policy development session held Jan. 9 at the 99th Annual American Farm Bureau Federation Convention. AFBF voting delegates approved 11 policies GFB submitted that addressed numerous issues including farm bill programs, international trade and ag labor. “The policy recommendations Georgia Farm Bureau made were based on issues Georgia farmers identified as pressing at our annual convention in December,” GFB President Gerald Long said. “I’m glad to say that AFBF voting delegates adopted all of the policy we submitted. These policies will determine the position AFBF takes this year concerning the farm bill, labor and trade legislation and regulations. This is how our grassroots organization works – farmers directing how Farm Bureau represents them from the local level to the state to the national level.” GFB secured a big win for Georgia peanut growers by getting AFBF voting delegates to support the current peanut program provisions moving forward into the pending farm bill. AFBF voting delegates approved GFB policy that supports changing the U.S. Livestock Forage Program to allow counties next to those that receive disaster declarations to also be declared eligible for disaster assistance and to increase the number of weather stations in a county. GFB succeeded in getting AFBF to adopt policy that proposes the upcoming farm bill include a cottonseed and/or cotton lint farm program that allows farmers to enroll their generic base acres in it. Regarding international trade, AFBF also adopted policy GFB submitted that supports the negotiation and implementation of a revised Softwood Lumber Agreement with Canada so U.S. timber growers are protected from Canadian timber imports that are unfairly subsidized. The previous agreement the U.S. had with Canada has expired. Concerning ag labor, AFBF adopted GFB policy that suggests the U.S. Department of Labor resurvey the average labor wage for ag workers so that the rate used in the H-2A program more accurately reflects local pay rates.

GFB News Alert page 4 of 15 TRUMP ANNOUNCES PLANS TO EXPAND BROADBAND IN RURAL AREAS While speaking to 7,400 farmers and ranchers at American Farm Bureau’s 2018 convention on Jan. 8, President Donald Trump outlined his administration’s plans to strengthen the rural economy of America and received at least four standing ovations for what he had to say. Trump highlighted the historic role farmers have played in founding our country, protecting its freedoms and ensuring our country's economic success. “Since inauguration day we have been working as hard for farmers as you work. This nation was made by farmers, won by farmers,” Trump said. “You embody the values of hard work, grit, self-reliance and sheer determination that we need to make America great again.” Trump reminded his audience that he established a task force to address issues facing rural America last April that has been led by U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue. “ I’ve received their report and that is why in a few minutes I will take the first steps to expand broadband access in rural America. It Donald Trump will give you better and faster internet access.” Following his speech, Trump signed two executive orders that fund and streamline the expansion of broadband access across the rural U.S. “We’re streamlining and expediting requests to locate broadband facilities in rural America. Supporting broadband tower facilities in rural America and federal properties managed by the Department of the Interior. Those towers are going to go up, and you’re going to have great, great broadband,” Trump said. Trump said his administration is proposing infrastructure reforms to make sure rural communities have access to the best highways and roads that will be built under budget and ahead of schedule. The president also discussed labor, trade and his commitment to reigning in federal regulations. “My administration is in the process of rolling back a rule that hit our farmers terribly hard – the Waters of the United States Rule. It sounds so nice. It sounds so innocent, and it was a disaster. People came to me about it and they were crying - men who were tough and strong; women who were tough and strong – because I gave them back their property. I gave them back their farms. We ditched the rule.” Trump said the pending farm bill would continue to provide a safety net for farmers who are going into their fifth year of low commodity prices. “I’m looking forward to working with Congress to pass the farm bill on time and I’m looking forward to passing a bill with crop insurance,” Trump said. “We’re working to bring hope and prosperity to rural communities.” Trump acknowledged controversy over the North American Free Trade Agreement and other trade agreements that account for about 25 percent of U.S. ag revenues. “To level the playing field for all of our farmers and ranchers as well as our manufacturers, we are reviewing all of our trade agreements,” he said. He ended his speech with this popular phrase, “Farm country is God’s country.”

GFB News Alert page 5 of 15 AG SECRETARY PERDUE TALKS TRADE & FIRST-YEAR ACCOMPLISHMENTS Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue addressed American Farm Bureau members on Jan. 8 during the closing session of their annual convention to discuss the importance of trade to U.S. farmers and the need for successful North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) negotiations. He also shared what the USDA has been working on during his first eight months in office. “We know trade is a key to a successful agriculture sector,” Perdue said. “We have put a number of proposals on the table to modernize NAFTA, and critically for agriculture, to address key sectors left out of the original agreement – dairy and poultry tariffs in Canada. Now, we want to see our negotiating partners step up and engage so we can get the deal done. I have great faith in President Trump’s skills as a negotiator and that we will get a fair deal.” Accomplishments the USDA has achieved during Perdue’s first eight months as secretary include: reopening the Chinese market to American beef, signing a protocol to allow exports Sonny Perdue of U.S. rice to China for the first time and easing European Union regulations on citrus exports. South Korea lifted its ban on imports of U.S. poultry, while Argentina has allowed American pork back into the country for the first time since 1992. Perdue said the USDA has been rolling back excessive regulations following a directive from President Trump. He cited the Waters of the U.S. rule as an example of regulatory overreach negatively affecting farmers. “You know, sometimes a mud puddle is just a mud puddle,” he said. “We don’t need the federal government coming in and regulating it.” Perdue said the USDA has targeted 27 final rules for elimination that will save $56.15 million annually. Perdue asked farmers and ranchers to bring any onerous regulations to USDA’s attention by visiting Perdue said a report recently presented to President Trump from the Interagency Task Force on Agriculture and Rural Prosperity, which Perdue was assigned to lead on his first day in office last April, contains more than 100 practical, actionable recommendations for economic growth in five key areas: e-connectivity, quality of life, rural workforce, technology and economic development. The report is what motivated Trump to sign executive orders addressing rural broadband access during the convention. “One of the biggest reasons that we are the envy of the world is gathered right here in this room – the farmers of America. You feed this country and the world, with all of your labors every day,” Perdue said in closing his speech.

GFB News Alert page 6 of 15 U.S. & CANADIAN AG OFFICIALS DISCUSS NAFTA With the renegotiation of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) pending on the horizon, American Farm Bureau Convention attendees had the chance to hear from Canadian Minister of Agriculture (CMA) Lawrence MacAulay and USDA Undersecretary for Trade & Foreign Agricultural Affairs Ted McKinney. MacAulay made history by becoming the first CMA to address the annual AFBF convention when he spoke at the opening session of the convention. “The closer the U.S. and Canada work together to address common challenges, the more we can grow our economies,” MacAulay said. “No two nations depend on each other for economic prosperity more than the U.S. and Canada.” MacAulay stressed the importance NAFTA played in the economic success to agriculture in Canada & the U.S. “Last year more than $47 billion of agriculture products crossed over our borders,” MacAulay said. He conceded NAFTA could stand to be updated as it has been numerous times in the past 23 years since it was implemented in 1994. “If we grow our trade relationships we grow our trade together. Since 1994 trade among NAFTA partners has tripled,” MacAulay. Since 1994 agriculture and food exports from the U.S. to Canada and Mexico have quadrupled. Regarding NAFTA renegotiation, MacAulay said the main objective is to do no harm to agriculture. “Can NAFTA be updated? Of course. But it’s like an old tractor in the barn. We can make it better, but let’s not destroy the tractor.” MacAulay also spoke of his visit to Georgia last year where he visited a Vidalia Onion farm and toured the Port of Savannah. Speaking during a workshop at the AFBF convention, Ted McKinney, undersecretary of trade and foreign agricultural affairs for the USDA, said NAFTA negotiations are the most important project that the United States has right now. He compared NAFTA negotiations to a Sumo wrestling match. He said there is a lot of posturing in the circle, but he is hopeful that the United States, Canada and Mexico will meet in the middle and find some agreement in the next round of trade negotiations. Dairy is the biggest issue facing the agricultural side of NAFTA negotiations, McKinney said. Last year, Canada moved forward with a new class of milk that virtually shut out American-made ultra filtered milk. He said that action took U.S. dairy farmers over the top. “Dairy is the big deal. Every dairy organization has written, phoned or been in my office. It is the itch that needs to be scratched and the elephant in the room,” McKinney said. McKinney also discussed a list of other potential trade opportunities for American farmers including Japan, China, Britain, Vietnam and India. He is looking to get free trade agreements that will open up new markets for American products, especially in expanding economies where growing middle classes are wanting to buy more protein like meat and dairy. He said opening new markets helps spread the risk if other trade agreements get bumpy.

GFB News Alert page 7 of 15 GA DEPARTMENT OF AG ACCEPTING GATE RENEWALS Farmers seeking to renew their Georgia Agricultural Tax Exemption (GATE) cards for 2018 have until Jan. 15 to do so without any lapse in eligibility, according to information released by the Georgia Department of Agriculture and the Georgia Department of Revenue. Georgia Farm Bureau has prioritized the continuation of the GATE program and is encouraging GATE card holders to use the exemption appropriately. “We must continue to be good stewards and work to protect the integrity of GATE,” said GFB President Gerald Long. “It is vitally important to understand the qualifications for obtaining a GATE Card, and it is equally important to follow the law when using the card for specified purchases.” It is the card holder’s responsibility to understand and follow all rules and regulations governing the program. Visit for a quick reference guide of qualified uses of the GATE card. Additionally, the Georgia Department of Agriculture and Georgia Department of Revenue have staff dedicated to the review and evaluation of GATE program participants. If you have any questions about the program or qualified uses, please contact the Department of Agriculture at 1855-FARM TAX (327-6829) or by email at To report fraud or abuse contact the Georgia Department of Revenue at 1-877-423-6711. The original GATE renewal deadline was Jan. 1. It was extended because of delays stemming from what the two departments referred to as a “cyber event” that occurred in December, when the Department of Agriculture encountered computer network problems that shut down access to the GATE card renewal system. The issue has been resolved, the departments said, and the system has resumed operation. To apply for renewals or new GATE cards visit According to the statement, GATE card renewal applications are being given priority over applications for new GATE cards. BURCH, BODDIFORD RENOMINATED TO GA PEANUT COMMISSION BAORD Tim Burch of Baker County and Joe Boddiford of Screven County, were both renominated without opposition to the Georgia Peanut Commission board of directors at nomination meetings held on Dec. 14, 2017. The Georgia Farm Bureau Federation conducted the nomination meetings for the commission’s districts one and three. Burch and Boddiford previously held the seat for their respective district, which expired Dec. 31, 2017. Now, after renomination, they will serve Georgia peanut farmers on the board for the next three years. The Georgia peanut production area is divided into five districts based on acreage distribution and geographical location with one board member representing each district. Additional board members include: Armond Morris of Tift County, chairman, representing district two; Rodney Dawson of Pulaski County, representing district four; and Donald Chase of Macon County, representing district five.

GFB News Alert page 8 of 15 FEDERAL DISASTER BILL INCLUDES COTTON FARM BILL PROVISION On Dec. 21, 2017, the U.S. House passed a supplemental disaster appropriations bill to address losses due to hurricanes and wildfires, including measures to assist producers affected by storms in 2017. The total package was for $81 billion, of which $3.8 billion is designated for agricultural producers. The bill (H.R. 4667) also contained provisions that would make cottonseed eligible for farm bill crop insurance programs and would expand the Livestock Gross Margin Insurance Program for dairy producers. “Cotton producing families across the Cotton Belt are continuing to suffer with low prices and increased input costs, compounded this year by natural disasters in major cotton-producing areas,” said National Cotton Council Chairman Ronnie Lee from Bronwood, Ga. We look forward to continuing to work with both the Senate and the House to ensure a final legislative measure is enacted in the near future that includes cotton policy to help stabilize the industry in the face of these challenging financial conditions.” Georgia Farm Bureau, the Georgia Cotton Commission and other agricultural stakeholder organizations have pursued measures to make cotton or cottonseed eligible for Agricultural Risk Coverage (ARC) and Price Loss Coverage (PLC) established under the 2014 farm bill. The cottonseed provision in the appropriations bill could provide temporary relief for cotton growers who have struggled with an extended period of low commodity prices for cotton. The supplemental appropriations bill passed by a 251-169 vote, with Georgia’s Rick Allen (R12th District), Sanford Bishop (D-2nd District), Buddy Carter (R-1st District), Drew Ferguson (R3rd District), Tom Graves (R-14th District), Karen Handel (R-6th District), Austin Scott (R-8th District) and David Scott (D-13th District) all voting in favor. The bill awaits consideration in the Senate. COFIELD JOINS GFB AS NATIONAL AFFAIRS COORDINATOR Georgia Farm Bureau has named Tripp Cofield its national affairs coordinator. Cofield, who grew up in Valdosta worked on the staff of U.S. Rep. Rob Woodall. Cofield analyzed bills in Congress and proposed federal regulations and recommended policy positions or strategic action. He also met with industry associations and advocacy groups to discuss legislative priorities, as well as interacting with constituents and stakeholders. Cofield holds a bachelor’s degree in speech communication from Valdosta state. In his new role as GFB national affairs coordinator, he will serve as liaison for both the organization and the state’s farmers with members of Congress, helping to communicate GFB’s policy positions on legislative topics relevant to agriculture. He’ll also organize trips for GFB Tripp Cofield members to assist with their farm advocacy efforts and coordinate in-state events hosting congressmen and their staff. Cofield lives in Madison with his wife, Jenny, daughter Pinckney and son Rex. He succeeds Tas Smith, who left GFB in November to accept the position of Farm Service Agency state coordinator.

GFB News Alert page 9 of 15 GFB APPOINTS 2018 COMMODITY COMMITTEES Georgia Farm Bureau (GFB) has appointed the members of its commodity advisory committees for 2018. The committees provide guidance to GFB on topics relating to their commodity, including crop-specific government regulation, production practices and promotional approaches. GFB has 20 commodity advisory committees. The committee chairmen for 2018 are: Aquaculture – Terry Bramlett, Fannin County; Beef Cattle – Jerry McKinnon (Coffee County); Cotton – Eddie Green, Dooly County; Dairy – Kenneth Murphy, Meriwether County; Direct Marketing/Agritourism – Andy Futch, Gilmer County; Environmental Horticulture – Mark Porter, Fayette County; Equine – Gary Walker, Tift County; Feedgrain/Soybean – Jesse Patrick, Putnam County; Forestry – John Mixon, Pike County; Fruit – Tim McMillan, Berrien County; Goats and Sheep – Will Cabe, Franklin County; Hay – Wymann Hartley, Houston County; Honeybees – B.J. Weeks, Cherokee County; Peanuts – John Harrell, Grady County; Pecans – Garrett Ganas, Ware County; Poultry – Russ Moon, Madison County; Swine – Terry Danforth, Berrien County; Tobacco – Jerry Wooten, Jeff Davis; Vegetables – Mitchell Pittman, Toombs County; Water – Bubba Johnson, Mitchell County. Eight GFB members have also been appointed to American Farm Bureau Federation (AFBF) Issue Advisory Committees (IACs). The IACs provide guidance to AFBF on topics of interest to broad segments of agriculture. The Georgia appointees are: Animal Care – Paul Johnson, Decatur County; Budget and Economy – Terry Bramlett, Fannin County; Food Safety – Bob McLeod, Wilcox County; Technology – Chris Hopkins, Toombs County; Water – Mark Masters, Dougherty County; Energy – Leighton Cooley, Crawford County; Federal Lands – John Mixon, Pike County; Pests & Invasive Species – Eddie Green, Dooly County. NESSMITH NAMED GFB YOUNG FARMER COORDINATOR Erin Nessmith has been named Georgia Farm Bureau’s Young Farmer Coordinator. A former FFA member and state FFA officer in Florida, Nessmith earned degrees in agriculture communications, education and leadership from the University of Florida. She taught middle school ag education and later taught and advised students in the University of Florida’s College of Agriculture and Life Sciences in Plant City. A native of Florida, Nessmith most recently worked as state leadership program specialist with the Georgia FFA Association. She and her husband, Tyler, have two children, Brantley and Aubrey, and live in Madison. In her new role with GFB, Nessmith will manage and promote the GFB young farmer program, which provides leadership development, public speaking and networking opportunities for Georgia farmers between the ages of 18 and 35. Activities include the annual GFB Young Erin Nessmith Farmer Leadership Conference, the Harvest For All charity program to support needy families, the GFB photo contest and the GFB Young Farmer competitive events. Nessmith succeeds Taylor Sills, who left last fall to accept a position with the Georgia Cotton Commission. She started with GFB on Dec. 27.

GFB News Alert page 10 of 15 MARCH 2 IS DEADLINE TO APPLY FOR GFB SCHOLARSHIPS The Georgia Farm Bureau Foundation for Agriculture is committed to investing in students pursuing careers in agriculture or a related field. For 2018, the foundation is offering scholarships for college freshmen, rising college juniors and seniors, technical college students and UGA College of Veterinary Medicine students specializing in large/food animals. Visit for a list of eligible majors/schools, application instructions and to apply. Applications must be submitted online by March 2. Transcripts and letters of recommendation that are mailed must also be postmarked by March 2. UGA NAMES FLUHARTY HEAD OF ANIMAL & DAIRY SCIENCES DEPARTMENT Francis Fluharty will join the University of Georgia College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences as the new department head of the Department of Animal and Dairy Science. He begins at UGA in May. Fluharty is currently a research professor in the Department of Animal Sciences at The Ohio State University. His career has been devoted to assisting food animal producers through research and educational programs aimed at improving animal health and growth. Fluharty has also worked to improve profitability, as food animal agriculture must be economically sustainable for farm families. Fluharty is a co-inventor of two patents for genetic marker processes and DNA sequences to detect an animal's potential for both marbling and tenderness. He also helped develop an all-natural branded beef program, Ohio Signature Beef, designed to improve profits for family farm owners who produce cattle without the use of hormone implants or antibiotics. Francis Fluharty He has worked as a scientific advisor for the Inter-American Institute for Cooperation on Agriculture (IICA) in Chile and the Chilean Institute for Agriculture Development (INDAP), as well as the Japanese Wagyu F1 Council and Japan Cattlemen’s Association. USDA ANNOUNCES FSA STATE COMMITTEE APPOINTEES On Jan. 4 U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue announced a slate of Farm Service Agency (FSA) State Committee Appointees. State committees are selected by the secretary, serve at the pleasure of the secretary, and are responsible for carrying out FSA’s farm programs within delegated authorities. “The state committees will help to ensure USDA is providing our farmers, ranchers, foresters, and agricultural producers with the best customer service,” Secretary Perdue said. “They serve as a liaison between USDA and the producers in each state across the nation by keeping them informed and hearing their appeals and complaints. The committees are made up mostly of active farmers and ranchers, representing their peers and ensuring USDA’s programs are supporting the American harvest.” For Georgia, the appointees are: Allen Poole, Haralson County (chair); Bo Herndon, Toombs County; Meredith McNair Rogers, Mitchell County and Donnie Smith, Coffee County. State committees are appointed for a one year term which began on January 1. States that are not listed here or that have incomplete lists will be announced at a later date.

GFB News Alert page 11 of 15 UNDER NEW LEADERSHIP, SUDIA BECOMES THE DAIRY ALLIANCE The Southeast United Dairy Industry Association (SUDIA) has new leadership, new branding and a new name — The Dairy Alliance. This change represents the new vision and mission of the organization. The Dairy Alliance has an emphasis on market-focused partnerships that proactively promote and protect the interests of 2,100 dairy farm families in the Southeast. The new branding initiative includes a new logo, a strategic mission and vision and a renewed effort to expand partnerships and provide growth opportunities in the dairy industry. "We are aligning our organization to more accurately reflect the vision of our dairy farmer board of directors and bring focus and clarity to the new mission of The Dairy Alliance," said Doug Ackerman, who has served as chief executive officer of The Dairy Alliance since January 2017. "The rebranding is more than a new logo and a new name. It is a fundamental shift in how we position ourselves within the dairy industry, individual business channels and communities where we live and partner for a healthier future for us all." Since 1971, The Dairy Alliance has been the voice for dairy in the Southeast. The primary goal has been promoting milk and dairy foods for farmers and working with industry partners. The organization started with four states and has grown to nine: Alabama, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee and Virginia. The reorganization aims to represent its partners, to grow and to meet the challenges facing the dairy industry with knowledge and innovation. "The dairy industry is facing several challenges, including the loss of producers, globalization and regulation," said Glen Easter, Chairman of the Board of Directors of The Dairy Alliance and third-generation dairy farmer. "This effort ensures the alliance is hitting our targets and that our families and partners are part of the conversations and, ultimately, the solutions." The Dairy Alliance uses scientifically-based research and information to champion the dairy industry to organizations around the country including farm bureaus, departments of education, school nutrition associations, state nutrition directors, health professional organizations and others.

GFB News Alert page 12 of 15 GFB TAKING LISTINGS FOR HAY DIRECTORY Farm Bureau members with hay for sale or offering custom harvesting or custom sprigging services are invited to list in the 2017/18 GFB Quality Hay Directory published on the GFB website. Because this directory is now offered exclusively online, hay can be listed or removed from the site as your inventory dictates. To participate, please complete a submission form available at your county Farm Bureau office or online at Please include a $10 check made payable to Georgia Farm Bureau for each listing of hay, custom harvesting or custom sprigging. Multiple listings are allowed. 2018 SOUTHEAST FRUIT & VEGETABLE CONFERENCE Jan. 11-14 Savannah International Trade & Convention Center Savannah The Southeast Regional Fruit and Vegetable Conference is the largest educational conference and trade show in the southeastern United States that unites growers, vendors and suppliers. Anyone with an interest in specialty crop agriculture is invited to be a part of this event. Through more than 80 hours of educational sessions, we will address food safety concerns, specific commodity issues on production practices and increased yields, and marketing strategies. Participate in our growing and dynamic trade show, featuring more than 85,000 square feet of space filled with key suppliers and growers. For more information or to register visit SOUTHEASTERN SOIL SUMMIT Jan. 21-22, 2018 Westin Peachtree Plaza Atlanta This event will provide information about benefits and challenges of raw manure use relative to the safety of fresh fruit and vegetable production as well as current FDA research a risk assessment efforts and the final Food Safety Modernization Act Produce Safety Rule standards included in Subpart F - Biological Soil Amendments of Animal Origin and Human Waste. Registration fees are $120. Please register by Jan. 12, 2018. For more information or to register visit 2018 GEORGIA DAIRY CONFERENCE Jan. 15-17 Savannah Riverfront Marriott Savannah The 2018 Georgia Dairy Conference will provide dairy producers and industry leaders with an invaluable opportunity to hear from top educators, industry pioneers and fellow dairymen at this annual conference. The event offers dairy industry updates, dairy trends, economics, opportunities for pesticide credits and much more. For more information or to register visit 2018 GEORGIA PEANUT FARM SHOW & CONFERENCE Jan. 18 UGA Tifton Campus Conference Center 8:30 a.m. – 2:30 p.m. Tifton Back for its 42nd year, the Peanut Farm Show features more than 100 exhibitors, production & seed seminars, pesticide applicator certification training and a free lunch. For more information visit or contact the Georgia Peanut Commission at 229-386-3470 or

GFB News Alert page 13 of 15 2018 FLAVOR OF GEORGIA CONTEST Feb. 8 deadline to enter The University of Georgia's Flavor of Georgia Food Product Contest helps to highlight the state's burgeoning food product scene with its annual competition. Registration for the 2018 contest, which is coordinated each year by the UGA Center for Agribusiness and Economic Development, is now open at The early registration fee is $100 per entry and continues through Jan. 19, 2018. After that date, the price increases to $150 and remains open until Feb. 8, 2018. All entries are featured in the annual product directory, which is seen by leading food industry buyers and media outlets. For more information or to register, visit or call 706-542-9809. Follow the contest @FlavorofGA on Twitter and Instagram and on Facebook at LONGLEAF ALLIANCE ACADEMY: LONGLEAF 101 Jan. 23-25 UGA Savannah River Ecology Lab Windsor, SC This 2 ½-day course led by experts in longleaf management and ecology will include classroom lectures and field instruction. Topics include longleaf history, the role of fire in longleaf ecosystems, stand management, wildlife habitat and many more. The UGA Conference Center is located at 3280 Williston Rd. (U.S. Highway 278), Windsor, SC, 29856. For more information contact the Longleaf Alliance at 334-427-1029 or send an email to Karen Brown at Course information is also online at FARM LABOR SEMINARS Jan. 23 AmericInn Hotel, 155 Mose Coleman Dr. 8:30 a.m. – noon Vidalia Feb. 22 Omega Clubhouse, 5471 Alabama Ave. 8:30 a.m. – 3:30 p.m. Omega These seminars will feature presentations from the U.S. Department of Labor and the Georgia Department about H-2A and the Migrant and Seasonal Agricultural Worker Protection Act (commonly referred to as MSPA). Registration is required. To register online visit For more information contact Rachel Mast-Matos at or 678-237-0540. 2018 AG FORECAST MEETINGS Jan. 30 Toombs Co. Ag Center Lyons Feb. 1 Decatur Co. Ag Center Bainbridge Feb. 2 UGA Conference Center Tifton Feb. 5 Georgia Farm Bureau Macon Feb. 6 Clarence Brown Conference Center Cartersville Feb. 7 The Classic Center Athens The keynote topic for the Jan. 30, Feb. 1-5 meetings will be a farm bill update given by Bob Redding. The keynote topic for the Feb. 6 & 7 meetings will be demographic trends in rural Georgia and America given by Matthew Hauer of the UGA Carl Vinson Institute of Government. Check-in begins at 9 a.m. for all meetings except Tifton, with seminars starting at 10 a.m. followed by lunch at 11:30 a.m. Check-in for the Tifton event starts at 7 a.m., breakfast will be served at 7:30 a.m., followed by the seminar from 8 to 9:30 a.m. Cost is $35 per person or $240 for a table of eight. For more information or to register, visit call 706-542-5046.

GFB News Alert page 14 of 15 2018 GEORGIA/FLORIDA SOYBEAN & SMALL GRAIN EXPO Jan. 30 Georgia National Fairgrounds & Agricenter 8 a.m. – 3:30 p.m. Perry The Expo provides up-to-date market projections and information on the newest production techniques, as well as remarks from UGA Extension experts. Topics include wheat breeding, world economic outlook, integrated cultivar release system, development of new soybean varieties and strategies to increase production. Georgia Farm Bureau Public Policy Director Jeffrey Harvey will provide a 2018 ag policy update. For more information contact the Georgia/Florida Soybean Association at 706-542-3793. GEORGIA COTTON GROWERS’ EFFICIENCY SURVEY Jan. 31 deadline to participate The Georgia Cotton Commission has funded a research project designed to help Georgia cotton farmers improve their production efficiency. Georgia cotton farmers are asked to participate by filling out a questionnaire on various cotton inputs, farm qualities and personal experience. In exchange for their participation, cotton growers will be provided with the results of the survey, which is being conducted by the University of Georgia’ College of Agricultural & Environmental Sciences. The goal is to provide data about usage of specific inputs, allowing cotton farmers to learn where and how they can improve efficiency. To participate, visit For more information, contact Dr. Jeffrey Dorfman, professor of agricultural and applied economics, at 706-542-0754 or, or graduate student Julian Worley at 757-621-3666 or 2017 CENSUS OF AGRICULTURE Feb. 5, 2018 deadline to respond The U.S. Department of Agriculture's (USDA) National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS) has begun mailing the 2017 Census of Agriculture to the nation's producers. Conducted every five years, the census aims to get a complete and accurate picture of American agriculture. The census will be mailed in several phases through December. Farm operations of all sizes which produced and sold, or normally would have sold, $1,000 or more of agricultural product in 2017 are included in the census. The census is the only source of uniform, comprehensive, and impartial agriculture data for every state and county in the nation. Responding to the Census of Agriculture is required by law. The same law requires NASS to keep all information confidential, to use the data only for statistical purposes, and only publish in aggregate form to prevent disclosing the identity of any individual producer or farm operation. NASS will release the results of the census in February 2019. For more information about the 2017 Census of Agriculture, visit or call 800-727-9540. 2018 GEORGIA AGRITOURISM ASSOCIATION ANNUAL MEETING March 5-6 Unicoi State Park Helen The conference offers opportunities to learn and network. Early Bird Registration is $199 for GAA members and $229 for non-members until Feb. 5, 2018. To register visit

GFB News Alert page 15 of 15 GEORGIA LANDOWNER ACADEMY Feb. 27 Location TBA Fitzgerald This six-session course is offered to landowners who own 10 or more acres of land and want to learn the basics of land management. It is designed to serve those who want to make their land more profitable and sustainable. Topics include: Support available through USDA programs; heirs property and estate planning, recordkeeping essentials; agricultural management; forest management; understanding taxes; rural housing programs and business development. The deadline to apply is Feb. 6. For application information, contact Alexandria Arnold with the Georgia Heirs Property Law Center at 706-424-7557, extension 6 or SUSTAINABLE AGRICULTURE CONFERENCE Feb. 9-10 Oconee County Civic Center Watkinsville The goal of this conference is to help new, beginning, limited resource, socially disadvantaged and otherwise underserved producers network and develop key resources to ensure economic stability. Following a panel discussion regarding the State of the Georgia Small Farm Economy, participants will have a choice of taking one of four tracks: Conservation and Land Ownership, Composting and Farm Safety Certification, Farm Business Development, and Sustainable Agriculture. Lunch and a light breakfast will be provided. For more information or to register, visit

Georgia Farm Bureau News Alert - January 11, 2018  

In this week's GFB News Alert... coverage of the 2018 American Farm Bureau 99th Annual Convention, including speeches from President Trump a...

Georgia Farm Bureau News Alert - January 11, 2018  

In this week's GFB News Alert... coverage of the 2018 American Farm Bureau 99th Annual Convention, including speeches from President Trump a...