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January 24, 2018

Vol. 36 No. 2

AVIAN FLU VIRUS DETECTED IN WILD DUCKS ON GEORGIA COAST Poultry growers urged to follow biosecurity measures Backyard and commercial poultry producers are reminded to follow biosecurity measures the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) and Georgia Department of Agriculture recommend as a way to limit the exposure of their flocks to avian influenza. The reminder comes after tests conducted by the USDA Animal and Plant Health Protection Service (APHIS) Wildlife Services detected small amounts of avian influenza nucleic acid in swab samples collected from two wild American GreenWinged Teal ducks shot by hunters in McIntosh County on the Georgia coast. The USDA Wildlife Services took samples from the ducks in mid and late December as part of a current wild bird surveillance program according to Georgia’s State Veterinarian Dr. Robert Cobb. “The USDA Wildlife Services tests wild birds to monitor for the presence of diseases. The results of a polymerase chain reaction (PCR) run on the wild ducks detected a low level of RNA for The next issue of the H7 strain of avian influenza,” Cobb explained. “Whether a virus is GFB News Alert alive or dead, its RNA can still be detected.” comes out The detection of H7 and H5 subtypes of avian influenza are closely February 7. watched due to the impact these virus strains can have on poultry. “We have a finding of H7 avian influenza virus in wild ducks. This is not a case of avian flu,” Cobb said. “We know this virus is out there in the wild year round and the detection of the virus in these wild ducks serves as a reminder for poultry producers to continue to be vigilant about following recommended biosecurity measures.” Wild waterfowl are known carriers of avian flu. Backyard and pastured poultry are especially vulnerable to being exposed to avian flu viruses from wild birds unless precautions are taken. “What backyard and commercial poultry producers have to do in terms of biosecurity measures is what you should be doing every day of the year,” said Dr. David Stallknecht, professor in the UGA College of Veterinary Medicine Department of Population Health. “We have wild water -continued on next page

GFB News Alert page 2 of 14 Continued from previous page fowl here in Georgia 365 days a year.” In 2016, Georgia farmers raised a variety of poultry products including meat chickens, table eggs, breeder chickens and eggs valued at about $5.34 billion, according to the UGA College of Agricultural & Environmental Sciences Center for Agribusiness & Economic Development. Georgia’s poultry production is the largest contributor to Georgia’s agricultural economy. Cases of avian flu in backyard and commercial poultry flocks in several Southeastern states last year did require the depopulation of some flocks. Cobb noted that avian influenza does not pose a food safety concern for consumers because commercially grown poultry is tested prior to going to market, preventing any affected commercial poultry from entering the food chain. While backyard 
poultry may not be tested prior to processing, proper handling and cooking of any type of poultry will destroy the viruses associated with avian flu. Visit for the most recent updates on avian flu in Georgia. Biosecurity recommendations for commercial and backyard flocks are available there and at Backyard or pastured poultry growers are encouraged to follow these biosecurity measures as recommended by the USDA: • Do not let other backyard/pasture poultry producers come in contact with your birds or visit your farm. • Game birds & migratory waterfowl should not have contact with your flock. Try to keep poultry inside a screened area. • Use municipal water as a drinking source instead of giving poultry access to ponds or streams. The avian flu virus can live for long periods in surface waters. • If you have been near other birds or bird owners, for instance at a feed store or while bird hunting, clean & disinfect the tires of your vehicle and your clothes and any equipment that may have been exposed before going home. Always shower and put on clean clothing before approaching your flock. • Do not share tools, equipment or supplies with other bird owners. If you do, clean & disinfect them before you bring them home. Commercial poultry growers are reminded to follow these biosecurity measures recommended by the USDA. • Allow only essential personnel access to your farm & birds. Disinfect any vehicles that enter your farm. • Don’t lend or borrow equipment from other farms. Bring only cleaned & disinfected items into your poultry houses. •Avoid contact with other poultry. If that’s not possible, change clothes & shoes before working with your birds. • Use disinfecting footbaths when entering/leaving your chicken houses. Change the disinfectant frequently or wear disposable shoe covers. • Keep poultry houses closed to wild birds. • Eliminate standing water on your farm & clean up feed spills to avoid attracting wild birds. Source: USDA Animal & Plant Health Inspection Service.

GFB News Alert page 3 of 14 FARM BILL, CROP TIPS & AWARDS HIGHLIGHT ANNUAL GA PEANUT SHOW A farm bill update, crop management tips, peanut community awards and new equipment displays highlighted the 42nd Annual Georgia Peanut Farm Show & Conference. More than 1,300 attendees turned out for the Jan. 18 event hosted by the Georgia Peanut Commission (GPC) at the UGA Tifton Campus Conference Center. GPC political consultant Bob Redding provided a Washington update at the event. Redding said he expects the U.S. House & Senate Ag Committees to mark up the next farm bill some time before the end of March. “Both Agriculture Committee Chairmen Rep. Mike Conway and Sen. Pat Roberts want to pass the farm bill on time,” Redding said. Redding reported that Berrien County peanut grower Tim McMillan testified before the House Agriculture Committee last April and Mitchell County grower Meredith McNair Rogers testified before the Senate Agriculture Committee last July in support of maintaining the peanut provisions of the 2014 farm bill and the price loss coverage (PLC) program in the next farm bill. Both McMillan and Rogers testified on behalf of the GPC and the Southern Peanut Farmers Federation. During seminars presented by members of the UGA Extension Peanut Team, peanut growers received insight on factors that cost them crop yield last year. “Fifty percent of Georgia’s peanut acreage is irrigated and in a large portion of our irrigated acres we lost an average of 650 pounds per acre in yield,” UGA Peanut Agronomist Dr. Scott Montfort told Georgia Farm Bureau media when summarizing the yield problems Georgia growers experienced last year. Fluctuating temperatures during the early part of the growing season could have contributed to herbicide injury to the crop, while disease pathogens in the last part of the crop season contributed to yield loss in irrigated peanut acreage, Montfort said. “This past year was a little tough on us, but we did make a record crop in Georgia overall because we had such a great crop on dryland peanuts, which made between 4,500 to 5,500 pounds per acre in some places,” Montfort said. “Georgia got good rain in June and July through the peak bloom period and again in late August that helped finish off the dryland crop. But water could have enhanced pegging problems in the crop.” Despite yield losses in the 2017 peanut crop used for edible consumer products, Montfort said peanuts grown last year to produce seed peanuts for this year were excellent. “We had a great quality crop around the taproot so we’re starting the 2018 crop year off with better quality seed than we’ve had in ten years,” Montfort said. “The biggest thing I want to stress is take care of your seed. Storage does count. If you pick up your seed early and you can’t plant them right away, keep them in a cool, shaded environment. If temperatures get into the 80s or 90s and you -continued on next page

GFB News Alert page 4 of 14 Continued from previous page have seed in a van body, trailer or shed, seed quality can be lost. Plant your oldest seed first.” Montfort also recommends that growers inspect their seed before planting to look for seed contamination, injury or premature germination. He suggested growers take samples of each bag of seed that can be submitted for sampling should a problem arise with the crop later on. The GPC presented awards to individuals and businesses for their service to the peanut industry. Recipients were: Media Award – Craig Harney with WTOC in Savannah; Research & Education Award – Albert Culbreath, UGA plant pathologist; Special Award – Matt Baldwin, a professional bullfighter who has worn the GPC logo on his rodeo costume; Outstanding Georgia Young Peanut Farmer Award – Elton Baldy; and Jeff Johnson, retired president of Birdsong Peanuts, who received the Distinguished Service Award for his efforts to get ready-to-use therapeutic food (RUTF) to malnourished children in third-world countries. RUTF is an energy-dense, peanut butter like paste that consists of roasted ground peanuts, powdered milk, vegetable oil, sugar, and vitamins/minerals. Visit to see photos. NASS: GEORGIA PEANUT GROWERS PRODUCE RECORD CROP Georgia peanut producers improved yield by 480 pounds per acre and increased acreage to a record 835,000 acres, resulting in a record-high 3.61 billion pounds, according to the annual crop production report released Jan. 12 by the USDA’s National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS). The peanut crop exceeded the 2.75 billion-pound 2016 crop by 860,000 pounds, a year-to-year increase of 31 percent. Georgia’s farmers also increased their production of cotton and hay, while the corn, soybean and tobacco crops all declined. Georgia cotton growers increased acreage from 1.18 million in 2016 to 1.28 million in 2017, and though yields declined by 48 pounds per acre, the 2017 production of 2.25 million bales was still a 3 percent increase over 2016’s 2.18 million bales. Hay growers in Georgia produced 1.8 million tons in 2017, up from 1.38 million tons in 2016, an increase of 30 percent. Georgia soybean growers produced 6.3 million bushels in 2017, down from 7.2 million bushels in 2016, a decline of 12.5 percent. Due largely to an 95,000-acre decline in harvested acres, corn production in the state finished at 43.1 million bushels in 2017, down 23 percent from 2016, when Georgia corn growers produced 56.1 million bushels. Georgia sorghum production was steady from 2016 to 2017, when the state’s farmers produced 540,000 bushels. Tobacco production in Georgia fell by seven percent, from 28.35 million pounds in 2016 to 26.25 million pounds in 2017.

GFB News Alert page 5 of 14 SE FRUIT & VEGETABLE CONFERENCE FEATURES FOOD SAFETY TOPICS Making sure your farm’s produce business is compliant with rules under the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) can be a maze of confusion, and on some points, implementation of the 2011 law is still a work in progress. The Southeast Regional Fruit & Vegetable Conference, held Jan. 11-14 in Savannah, featured food safety curriculum with the goal of clarifying which farms are subject to FSMA’s Produce Safety Rule (PSR) and Preventive Controls for Human Food Rule, (PCFHR) two of more than a dozen rules under FSMA’s umbrella. A key session addressed how FSMA rules apply to roadside stands. In the Roadside Markets session, UGA Professor and Extension Foods Specialist Judy Harrison discussed PSR’s impact on roadside stands. “What does FSMA mean for your market? Well, maybe nothing,” Harrison said. “If you sell food products directly to consumers and the annual monetary value of your sales to those consumers exceeds your sales to all other buyers, then you are likely not going to be affected by FSMA.” Harrison outlined exemptions to PSR, which applies to producers of raw agricultural products sold in their whole or natural state. Harrison noted the exemptions: produce grown for one’s own personal consumption; produce that is fresh cut or is not a raw agricultural commodity; or food grains. Also exempt are: foods that the FDA considers to be seldom eaten raw, like various beans, chickpeas or potatoes (The complete list can be found here:; produce sold to a processor who will give it a “kill step” to eliminate microorganisms; produce sold directly to the end user. There are also some potential income-based qualified exemptions: a three-year sales average of $25,000 or less; average produce sales of more than $25,000 but less than $500,000 in total food sales; or if sales to qualified end users exceed sales to all other customers combined. Harrison noted that if a farm or roadside stand’s food makes someone sick or causes an outbreak of a foodborne illness, exemptions can be withdrawn. “Even if you are exempt from the produce safety rule and the preventive controls rule for human food, you still have a responsibility to sell safe food,” Harrison said. According to the Produce Safety Alliance, food businesses with more than $500,000 in sales must be compliant by Jan. 26. Businesses with sales between $250,000 and $500,000, which the FDA refers to as small businesses, have until Jan. 28, 2019 to be PSR compliant and PCFHR complaint. Businesses with sales between $25,000 and $250,000 have until Jan. 27. 2020 to be compliant in the absence of any exemption.

GFB News Alert page 6 of 14 ABAC YOUNG FARMERS HOST 4TH ANNUAL CATTLE SHOW A total of 91 kindergarteners to 12th graders from Georgia, Alabama, Florida, South Carolina and Tennessee traveled to the Georgia National Fairgrounds & Agricenter in Perry with 123 cows in tow to compete in the 4th Annual Abraham Baldwin Agricultural College Young Farmers Steer & Heifer Show held Jan. 6. Georgia Farm Bureau (GFB) donated $2,500 to sponsor the grand champion steer and heifer awards for the show and the first place prizes for the 10 breed class winners. Coffee County Farm Bureau provided the $500 prize for the third place overall heifer. Crisp County 4-Her Maelee Dean walked out of the show ring with the grand champion steer prize of $1,000. Colquitt County FFA member Brock Weaver captured the $750 reserve grand champion prize sponsored by One Source Group. 4-Her Samantha Roberts from McMinn County, Tennessee, took home the $1,000 grand champion heifer award. Mitchell County James McNeal with Georgia. 4-Her Trace Lamberth earned the reserve (photo by Michael Herrin) champion heifer prize sponsored by Oakridge Landscaping. The ABAC Young Farmers is a chapter affiliate of GFB intended to recruit students into GFB’s Young Farmer program. Chapter Vice President Michael Herrin said the club began holding its cattle show as a fundraiser, but now the show has become less about fundraising and more about giving 4-H and FFA members another venue to pursue their passion for showing cattle while introducing the students to ABAC and the educational opportunities the school offers. “The kids are the future of showing. From my experience in FFA, I understand that showing to some kids is a really big deal. It’s their passion, they live for it,” Herrin said. “To see a kid walk out of that ring with a smile on their face is a huge success to me.” No exhibitor’s smile was wider at the show than James McNeal. The 12-year-old member of the Mossy Creek Middle School FFA Chapter in Houston County showed everyone at the event what the spirit of a true champion looks like. James, who was born with a rare form of dwarfism that left him paralyzed at age two, competed in the show with his miniature Hereford, Georgia. His mother, Brandie, said it was his second time competing with Georgia since he got her in November. “I’ve always loved animals. Showing is fun but the best part is having Georgia,” James said. “I -continued on next page

GFB News Alert page 7 of 14 Continued from previous page like spending time with her and working her.” Brandie said James has always wanted to show an animal. She and her husband, Tom, considered letting their son show a goat or a pig but didn’t pursue it. James is an avid outdoorsman who likes to hunt and fish. This fall, James’ language arts teacher, Lindsey Gentry, suggested he consider showing cattle. Her husband, Philip Gentry, the Georgia National Fairgrounds’ agriculture youth director, helped the McNeals acquire the miniature Hereford. “His attitude is infectious. As soon as I saw him interacting with the cows in the barn I knew that we needed to try to find a way to make this happen,” Philip Gentry said. Philip said the miniature Hereford is the perfect breed for James to show because it will always stay small enough for him to handle. “My first instinct as a mother was, ‘uh-oh, I’m not sure he can do this.’ We want to let him try anything he wants to, but at the same time we don’t want him to be let down if it doesn’t work out,” Brandie said. “The first time James met Georgia and we saw him interact with her we knew he could do it - that he would figure it out. Seeing how he has bonded with her and how she is with him, it’s the best thing because it’s something he can do and he can own.” For any exhibitor, the reality of showing livestock is it’s a team sport with everyone in the family pitching in to help their kids or siblings train and groom their cows. The McNeals are no different. Philip is teaching both James and his parents, Brandie and Tom, how to handle Georgia and groom her. “Philip is training all of us on how to handle Georgia and bathe her. He’s just been a gift the whole way around,” Brandie said. To view pictures of the ABAC show winners visit FORMER GFB STATE DIRECTOR PHIL REDDING DIES Phil Redding, who served on the Georgia Farm Bureau Board of Directors from 1985 to 2011, died on Jan. 20. He was 87. Visitation will be Thursday, January 25, 2018, from 6-8 p.m. at the Vincent United Methodist Church in Bluffton. A memorial service will be held at Vincent United Methodist Church on Jan. 26 at 11 a.m. Redding was born on Aug. 22, 1933, in Ft. Gaines to the late Buster Brown Redding and Edna Hayes Redding. He was a retired farmer and a member of Vincent United Methodist Church. He served on the Clay County Board of Education and was president of Clay County Farm Bureau from 1980 to 2014. Redding was preceded in death by his wife Deloris, who died in April 2017. Survivors include two daughters; Jo Del Perryman and her husband Bill, and Debbie Ingram all of Coleman; a sister, Faye Holliday of Phil Redding Alexander City, Alabama; brother, John Redding and sister-in-law, Levon, of Monroe. Redding had three grandchildren and two great-grandchildren.

GFB News Alert page 8 of 14 AFBF, NFU JOIN IN FIGHT AGAINST OPIOID ADDICTION As farming communities face mounting challenges with the nation’s opioid epidemic, the nation’s two largest general farm organizations are teaming up to confront the issue. Earlier this month, the American Farm Bureau Federation (AFBF) and National Farmers Union (NFU) announced a new campaign, “Farm Town Strong,” to raise awareness of the crisis’ impact on farming communities. The campaign will also provide resources and information to help farm communities and encourage farmerto-farmer support to overcome the crisis. The groups have launched a new website, to provide easy access to information and resources that can help struggling farm families and rural communities. The Farm Town Strong campaign comes on the heels of a survey commissioned by AFBF and NFU that highlighted how the opioid epidemic has hit farmers and farm workers especially hard. While just under half of rural Americans say they, a family member or friend have been directly impacted by opioid abuse, for farmers and farm workers it’s 74 percent. A strong majority of respondents also support increasing public awareness of anti-opioid resources and reducing the stigma that surrounds addiction to help solve the opioid crisis. To view key points from the survey visit “Farm country has been hit hard by the opioid epidemic – even harder than rural America as a whole, or big cities,” said AFBF President Zippy Duvall. “It’s going to take everyone working together to combat this crisis to make a difference. That’s why Farm Bureau and Farmers Union are teaming up to show unity on this issue and encourage farm families to help their neighbors. If you or a family member has been affected by opioid addiction, it’s important to talk about it so that others will know they are not fighting this alone.” “Opioid addiction—along with all of its consequences—is a silent, but very real, crisis for our farming communities,” said NFU President Roger Johnson. “The lack of services, treatment and support exacerbates the issue in rural areas, and the negative stigma associated with addiction makes it hard for farmers to discuss the problem. Too often, those struggling with addiction and their family members don’t seek the support they need. Through the Farm Town Strong campaign, we’re tackling this crisis head-on by encouraging more dialogue, more information sharing, and more farmer-to-farmer engagement.” The two organizations will also hold public events and launch a social media campaign, #FarmTownStrong, to highlight the crisis and share resources. Duvall and Johnson led a discussion on overcoming the opioid crisis on Jan. 8 at the 2018 AFBF Annual Convention in Nashville, Tennessee. More information on the campaign can be found at

GFB News Alert page 9 of 14 SUNBELT EXPO ANNOUNCES STAFF CHANGES The Sunbelt Agricultural Exposition has named Becca Turner vice president of marketing succeeding Gina McDonald, who plans to retire March 1. Turner has a master’s degree in mass communication from the University of Georgia. Since 2002 she has worked as the executive director of the Colquitt County Arts Center, interim director of ABAC on the Square and most recently associate professor of communication at ABAC. She was instrumental in developing the ABAC Rural Studies and Communications program and its curriculum for the 4-year program. Becca and her husband, Richie, live in Moultrie and have two children, Carolyne and Ret. “Becca brings a wealth of knowledge and Gina McDonald Becca Turner experience and we look forward to having her join our outstanding staff,” said Sunbelt Executive Director Chip Blalock. McDonald announced her retirement in November after 20 years at the Expo. “It’s been a great opportunity to work for the Expo. I've had the privilege to work alongside some of the best people in agriculture,” McDonald said. "Gina's commitment to relationship building with our community, exhibitors and visitors has taken this show to new heights. We wish Gina the best in her retirement," Blalock said. TRACTOR SUPPLY, FFA TAKING GRANTS FOR GROWING APPLICATIONS Tractor Supply Company is accepting applications in its FFA Grants for Growing program until Feb. 14. The program is designed to impact local communities through FFA chapters. Tractor Supply Company retail stores and local FFA Chapters partner during FFA Week to raise funds through the sale of paper emblems. Local FFA chapters are encouraged to participate in the stores during the fundraising period, which runs from Feb. 16 to Feb. 25, to help drive the sales of the paper emblems. During the fundraising period, chapters are encouraged to volunteer a few hours and engage customers to help drive the sales of the paper emblems. Chapters are not required to participate in a store. All chapters are encouraged to apply even if there is no Tractor Supply store in close proximity. Promotion of the event with social media, posters, broadcast and print may earn extra points toward the grant. Additional fundraising opportunities, approved by store management, may also be available, including bake sales, petting zoos, car washes, promotional booths and more. Grants for Growing is a competitive grant process where chapters submit an application outlining a new or existing school agricultural project whose total budget does not exceed $5,000 or whose project budget is between $500 - $5,000. The grants are to be used to further or boost current agricultural education programs/projects or to build new ones. The project should be sustaining, meaning not just a one year event. The program/project should live on to benefit future FFA members. Complete application requirements can be seen online at, or by visiting a Tractor Supply store.

GFB News Alert page 10 of 14 GEORGIA PORK PRODUCERS ASSOCIATION MEETING & NPP ELECTION The election of pork producer delegate candidates for the 2019 National Pork Producers (Pork Act) Delegate body will take place on Feb. 20 at 1 p.m. in the auditorium at Georgia Farm Bureau in Macon. The election will be held in conjunction with the board of directors meeting of the Georgia Pork Producers Association. All Georgia pork producers are invited to attend. Any producer age 18 or older who is a resident of the state and has paid all assessments due may be considered as a delegate candidate and/or participate in the elect. All eligible producers are encouraged to bring with them a sales receipt proving that hogs were sold in their name and the checkoff deducted. For more information contact Georgia Pork Producers Association, P.O. Box 1566, Bainbridge, Ga., or call 229-246-8297. FEB. 1 DEADLINE TO APPLY FOR MONSANTO SCHOLARSHIPS To help develop tomorrow’s leaders, the America’s Farmers Grow Ag Leaders program, sponsored by the Monsanto Fund, will partner with farmers to award more than $500,000 to deserving students pursuing ag-related degrees in 2018. Administered by the National FFA Organization (FFA), these scholarships are awarded in $1,500 increments to students looking to pursue post-secondary education in ag-related fields of study. Eligible fields of study are not solely limited to “traditional” ag-related fields, such as farming and agronomy, but also include education, engineering, mathematics, data science, and communications, among many others. Grow Ag Leaders scholarships are open to students 23 years of age and under who live in eligible counties, and are looking to enroll or are currently enrolled in trade schools, community colleges and four-year universities. Students need not be FFA members to apply. The deadline for students to apply is Feb. 1 and students must obtain two farmer endorsements of their application by Feb. 8. A complete list of program rules, eligibility requirements and information on the program is available at

GFB News Alert page 11 of 14 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 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 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. 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. GA COTTON COMMISSION 11th ANNUAL MEETING & UGA COTTON WORKSHOP Jan. 31, UGA Tifton Campus Conference Center Tifton This event begins at 8 a.m. For more information call 478-988-4235 or visit

GFB News Alert page 12 of 14 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 CROP INSURANCE DEADLINE NEARS FOR TOMATO, PECAN GROWERS Georgia tomato and pecan growers have until Jan. 31 to purchase crop insurance according to a Risk Management Agency (RMA) press release. Crop insurance provides protection against crop production losses due to natural perils like wind, hurricanes and freezing temperatures. Coverage is available for fresh market tomatoes in Colquitt, Decatur, Grady, Mitchell and Seminole counties. Coverage is available for pecans in select Georgia counties. Contact your insurance agent to see if your county is covered. A list of crop insurance agents is available at all USDA Service Centers and online at the RMA agent locator website, For more information about crop insurance visit HALL COUNTY AG EQUIPMENT TRANSPORTATION & SAFETY SEMINAR Feb. 6 North Hall Park & Community Center 6 p.m. Gainesville This event, sponsored by the Hall County Farm Bureau Young Farmer Committee, features updates on laws, rules and regulations for highway and off-road ag equipment, one hour credit toward pesticide license, CDL requirements and more. Scheduled speakers are White County Cooperative Extension Coordinator Nathan Eason, Georgia Department of Agriculture GATE Compliance Officer Rick Hubert and Capt. Lee Robertson of the Georgia Department of Public Safety Motor Carrier Compliance Division. A complimentary dinner will be served. RSVP by Feb. 1 by contacting Justine Palmer at or Caroline Lewallen at, or by calling 770-536-3461. 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 13 of 14 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 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 registration fee is $100 per entry. 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 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

GFB News Alert page 14 of 14 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 HAY AND BALEAGE SHORT COURSE Feb. 22 Carroll County Extension office Carrollton This course offered by the UGA Cooperative Extension Service and the Georgia Beef Commission includes sessions on cutting, curing and storing high-quality hay, managing forage quality, pest management, baled silage, hands-on activities and equipment review. Registration is $65. Please preregister by Feb. 16; For more information or to register over the phone call 770-836.8546. FARM LABOR SEMINAR Feb. 22 Omega Clubhouse, 5471 Alabama Ave. 8:30 a.m. – 3:30 p.m. Omega This seminar 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. SOYBEAN SHORT COURSE March 5 Nessmith-Lane Conference Center 9 a.m. Statesboro Featured presentations include soybean agronomy, entomology, weed control and others. Admission is free and lunch will be provided. Private and commercial pesticide hours will be available. For catering purposes please RSVP to Debbie Miracle at 912-681-5693 or CONSERVATION PRODUCTION SYSTEMS TRAINING CONFERENCE March 15-16 Augusta Technical College Waynesboro This 18th annual event, conducted by the Seven Rivers Resource Conservation and Development Council, offers pesticide recertification credits for both private and commercial applicators. Fee is $25 per person, which will cover lunch, registration and other items. Registration deadline is March 5. For more information contact Eugene Dyal at or by phone at 912-367-7679 or 912-367-1432.

Georgia Farm Bureau News Alert - January 24, 2018  

In this week's GFB News Alert... Georgia peanut farmers produced a record crop in 2017, avian flu virus detected in wild ducks along the Geo...

Georgia Farm Bureau News Alert - January 24, 2018  

In this week's GFB News Alert... Georgia peanut farmers produced a record crop in 2017, avian flu virus detected in wild ducks along the Geo...