Page 1


Vol. 74 No. 1

January-February 2012




The Voice of Georgia Farmers

2012 1937 e of Georgia Farmers The Voic

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table of

contents january/february 2012


we, the farmers PAGE 4

legislative update PAGE 8

young farmer update PAGE 16

women’s committee update PAGE 17

commodities update PAGE 18

around georgia


public relations staff Paul Beliveau Jennifer Whittaker Lillian Davis Jay Stone Denny Moore Rick Treptow Michael Edmondson Mark Wildman Dean Wood Damon Jones Vickie Amos

Director Editor Publications/Advertising Manager Print/Web Specialist TV Producer/Anchor Senior Radio-TV Specialist Web/Video Manager Radio-TV Specialist Radio-TV Specialist Radio-TV Specialist 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 e-mail For questions regarding advertising contact Hurst and Associates, Inc., 1-800-397-8908 Visit the GFB Web site today! Georgia Farm Bureau TV: “Like” us on Facebook: Follow us on Twitter:

Georgia Farm Bureau News

GFB annual convention Gov. Nathan Deal addressed GFB members at the organization’s annual meeting, discussing international trade, water, labor and budget issues. GFB presented its state awards, and members elected the 2012 board and approved GFB’s official policy, which determines the organization’s stance on legislation. PAGE 6

AFBF convention addresses ag issues Georgia was represented well at the annual American Farm Bureau Convention held in Hawaii in January. Chad & Julie Carlton, winners of the 2011 GFB Young Farmer Achievement Award, were named finalists for the AFBF award, and GFB was recognized for its outstanding member programs. Among the Georgia delegation attending the event were these GFB members from Bulloch and Evans counties. PAGE 10

Ga. Dept. of Ag releases labor study A labor study the Georgia Department of Agriculture conducted under provisions of House Bill 87, the immigration legislation the Georgia General Assembly passed in 2011, recommends federal reform, expanded public education about H-2A and more research into the labor shortage Georgia farmers experienced after passage of HB 87. PAGE 12

Agritourism featured at Fruit & Vegetable Conference In addition to providing more than 85 hours of commodity specific training, pest management information and marketing updates for all of Georgia’s major fruit and vegetable crops, the conference also included agritourism information. Hall County Farm Bureau President Drew Echols, pictured, discussed his family’s agritourism business. PAGE 14

Farm-City Week celebrations held statewide County Farm Bureaus across Georgia observed National Farm-City Week Nov. 18-24, 2011. Take a look at some of the creative ways FCW was celebrated and learn the district winners of GFB’s FCW contest. PAGE 22

on the cover

(Photo by Vicki Franklin) Baldwin County Farm Bureau member Vicki Franklin won an honorable mention in the 2011 Georgia Farm Bureau photo contest with this picture shot on her farm. GFB will accept entries for the 2012 photo contest from April 2 - April 27. Contest rules will be sent to county Farm Bureau offices and posted on the GFB website in April. Get your photos ready to enter! January-February 2012/ 3

Photo by Jennifer Whittaker

we, the

farmers Zippy Duvall, GFB President

GFB sets priorities

As I was growing up on the farm, I learned you must have a goal or plan for the day, the week and for life. The price you pay for not having goals is that you wander from one task to another responding reactively, not proactively. As Bonnie and I began to participate in Farm Bureau’s young farmer programs, we began to hear the same message about setting goals that reaffirmed the lessons my parents had taught me from an early age. As Georgia Farm Bureau prepares for another year, your state board of directors has set priority issues for the coming year, as we do each year. The 2012 list consists of water, taxes and budget, defense of animal agriculture, metal theft and farm labor. Georgia Farm Bureau will not limit our agricultural advocacy work to only these issues. Our organization will continue to be involved with any issues that affect farmers as outlined by our official policy, but these priority issues have particular interest within our membership. As always, involvement at the local level is the key to Farm Bureau’s legislative success. On issues related to water, GFB will work cooperatively with all aspects of agriculture to make sure agricultural water rights are protected. Your organization will support efforts to conserve water while working to augment water supplies. GFB will also be engaged in efforts to resolve the ongoing water dispute between Georgia, Alabama and Florida while working to ensure that contingency plans do not adversely affect agriculture. GFB will also continue to be involved with Georgia’s regional water councils and the Metro North Georgia Water Planning District. On taxes and budget, GFB will work

to achieve meaningful tax reform in Georgia that will protect current agricultural sales tax exemptions and broaden the scope of exemptions to cover all farm input costs, protect the Conservation Use Value Assessment (CUVA) program and preserve funding for agricultural institutions, agencies and youth development programs. On animal agriculture, GFB will work to block efforts to regulate animal agriculture at the farm level, defend against attacks from groups opposed to animal agriculture, continue to educate consumers about how we care for our animals and work with other animal agriculture organizations. The GFB Board has also resolved to continue the work we have done in recent years to curb the growing trend of metal theft, including working cooperatively with coalitions to combat metal thieves and educating the public about how to fight it. GFB will continue to push for reform of farm labor regulations at the federal level to ensure our farmers can obtain a stable, legal workforce, and GFB will remain engaged on the issue at the state level. Another labor issue facing agriculture are changes to federal child labor regulations the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) is considering. Last year the DOL proposed rules that would narrow the parental exemption for child labor and prevent kids from working on farms jointly owned by several members of the same family or incorporated farms owned by a parent. The DOL would allow youth to work for relatives during summer vacation or when See WE, THE FARMERS page 23

GFB President Zippy Duvall (front row, left) and the GFB Board of Directors represented the interests of Georgia’s farmers during the policy development session of the 2012 American Farm Bureau Convention based on GFB policy approved by GFB members at the GFB 2011 convention. Duvall and the directors also set GFB’s 2012 priority issues during a state board meeting held at the AFBF convention. 4 / January-February 2012



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 Jr. Treasurer/Corporate Secretary Wayne Daniel General Counsel DUKE Groover

DIRECTORS FIRST DISTRICT: Wesley Hall, Cumming; 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; Gary Bell, Bellville EIGHTH DISTRICT: Kim Brown, Montezuma; Don Wood, Rochelle NINTH DISTRICT: Paul Shirah, Camilla; Lucius Adkins, Elmodel TENTH DISTRICT: David Lee, Alma; Daniel Johnson, Alma YOUNG FARMER CHAIRMAN: Jake Carter, McDonough WOMEN’S COMMITTEE CHAIR: Linda Crumley. Winder 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 2012 by the Georgia Farm Bureau Federation. Printed by Panaprint, Macon, Georgia.


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Photo by Jennifer Whittaker

GFB members enjoyed socializing and talking with representatives of Georgia ag agencies and organizations in the exhibit hall at the GFB convention.

GFB holds annual convention M By Jennifer Whittaker ___________________________________

ore than 1,400 Georgia farmers and ag leaders attended Georgia Farm Bureau’s 2011 convention on Jekyll Island Dec. 4-6. The event included a trade show and commodity conferences where farmers heard updates on policy and production issues impacting Georgia’s major commodities. During the general session on Dec. 4 convention attendees heard speeches from Gov. Nathan Deal, Georgia Commissioner of Agriculture Gary Black and Georgia Insurance Commissioner Ralph Hudgens.

Deal discusses trade, water, labor & budget

Deal praised Georgia’s farmers for the contributions they make to the state’s economy and acknowledged the importance of international trade to agriculture, saying the state is working to deepen the Savannah harbor to prepare for larger ships passing through the Panama Canal in two years. While discussing current drought conditions, Deal reiterated his commitment to dedicate $300 million over the four years of his term to build regional reservoirs to lessen the state’s dependence on federally controlled reservoirs. “Water is an issue that will continue to be a concern for all of us. In my opinion the state of Georgia has been too dependent on federally controlled reservoirs for its water 6 / January-February 2012

supply. We need to have more reservoirs and other water sources that are controlled by local jurisdictions,” Deal said. Deal said he recognizes agriculture is a labor-intensive business and that all of agriculture’s labor needs cannot be solved using machinery. “Your need for a legal, available work force is the concern that has been shared with me, and I will certainly keep that in mind,” Deal said. In closing, Deal voiced his commitment to being fiscally responsible and rebuilding the state’s financial reserves, saying he has asked all state agencies to submit budgets for the next fiscal year that are two percent below what they were appropriated in the past year.

Duvall discusses labor, environmental regs & farm bill

While delivering his annual address, GFB President Zippy Duvall said agriculture’s need for farm workers is a necessity, like land and water. Duvall noted that GFB recognizes problems associated with illegal immigration but said the issue must be addressed cautiously. “In our zeal to correct one problem we don’t need to create new ones,” Duvall said. “We don’t need to stall the largest economic engine in this state, and we don’t need to scare off our workforce. We need a workable guest worker program for agriculture so that farmers can get the skilled workers they need.”

Duvall commended Rep. Jack Kingston (R-1st Dist.) and Sen. Saxby Chambliss for introducing legislation this year that would streamline the federal H-2A program to better meet agriculture’s labor needs and encouraged other members of Georgia’s Congressional delegation to support the legislation. Duvall also noted that Farm Bureau has worked at the state and national levels to represent farmers on environmental issues, speaking out against overreaching and burdensome federal regulations regarding dust, water and endangered species. Duvall discussed the upcoming farm bill, saying Farm Bureau would support a mirror image of the 2008 farm bill if it were possible, but the current budget crisis will likely require a much different farm bill. “Things have changed since the 2008 farm bill was negotiated,” Duvall said. “Congress is taking a more serious look at the federal budget, and that is a difficult process. Farm Bureau will continue to be there to make your voice heard during the farm bill deliberations.”

Black offers motivation

Georgia Agriculture Commissioner Gary Black delivered a motivational speech reflecting on GFB and agriculture’s past while looking to the future. Black recognized former GFB Young Farmers who now hold GFB offices or serve in state government. He encouraged young farmers to get involved in GFB and prepare to assume leadership roles. Black also reflected on the many changes Georgia agriculture has witnessed in the last 30 years. Black outlined changes he has implemented at the department of agriculture, such as recruiting paid subscriptions to the Market Bulletin to cover production costs, developing a new Georgia Grown logo to market Georgia commodities and working to get locally grown Georgia food into schools. Black challenged GFB members to promote agriculture in their communities, prepare young farmers to assume leadership roles within GFB and recruit new members. Duvall ended the general session by announcing that Georgia Farm Bureau will celebrate its 75th anniversary throughout 2012. Convention attendees received 75th anniversary lapel pins to kickoff the celebration. Georgia Farm Bureau News

Photo by Jennifer Whittaker

GFB President Zippy Duvall (back row, far right) congratulates the 2011 GFB award recipients (front row seated, L-R): Sandra Jones, Clayton County; Phyllis Boyd, Berrien County; Vicky Grizzle and Nichelle Stewart, Cherokee County; Dianne Elkins, Henry County; Sara Ervin, Jackson County; and Julie Carlton with daughter, Jersey, Polk County; (back row, L-R) Thomas Harrell, Madison County; Brent Galloway, Newton County; Charles Crumbley, Greene County; Edd Harris, Crawford County; and Chad Carlton, Polk County.

GFB presents awards during convention By Jennifer Whittaker ___________________________________ The best of GFB’s volunteers and county chapters were honored during the convention. Newton, Greene and Crawford each received the McKemie Award – the highest honor given to a county in recognition of its outstanding member programs – for its membership category. Newton County received the award for the 2,601 plus member division; Brent Galloway is the NCFB president. Greene County Farm Bureau won the McKemie for the 1,501 to 2,600 member division; Charles Crumbley is the GCFB president. Crawford County Farm Bureau received the McKemie for the 0 to 1,500 member division; Edd Harris is the CCFB president. Finalists in the McKemie competition, for the 0 to 1,500 member division were: Bacon, Heard, Jasper, Meriwether, Upson and Wilcox counties. Finalists for the 1,501 to 2,600 member division were: Berrien, Bibb, Floyd, Franklin, Harris, Pike, Polk, Spalding and Washington counties. Finalists in the 2,601 plus member division were: Barrow, Chattooga, Cherokee, Emanuel, Habersham, Henry, McDuffie, Madison and Stephens counties. The GFB Distinguished Service Award was given posthumously to Jack Elkins of Henry County and accepted by his wife, Dianne. Elkins was a Henry County Farm Bureau Director from 1990 to 1997 and the HCFB president from 1998 until his death Feb. 1, 2010. He led HCFB through a period of change in the 1990s when the county was Georgia Farm Bureau News

one of the nation’s fastest-growing counties and was instrumental in HCFB continuing as an active chapter. In June 2009, Elkins was appointed to the Metro North Georgia Water Planning District Governing Board, which oversees regional water issues for 15 counties in the metro Atlanta area. The Elkins grew

horse-quality hybrid Bermuda hay on their family farm. Chad and Julie Carlton of Polk County were named the Young Farmer Achievement winners. The Carltons raise freerange laying hens and sell the eggs directly to metro Atlanta consumers and restaurants. The Carltons, who also raise grassfed beef and free-range turkeys, received $500, a year’s use of a Kubota tractor and an expense-paid trip to the American Farm Bureau Convention in Honolulu, Hawaii. Other finalists in the Young Farmer Achievement Contest were Chris and Marilynn Hopkins of Toombs County and Cody and Lora Lord of Laurens County. The finalist couples each received $250. Sara Ervin of Jackson County won the Young Farmer Discussion Meet. Other finalists were Kyle Dekle of Habersham County, Skye Gess of Oconee County and Troy Windham of Laurens County. The contestants discussed the role, if any, agriculture should play in addressing health and obesity issues. Ervin received a $500 cash award and a trip to compete in the AFBF competition, See CONVENTION page 13


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January-February 2012/ 7

legislative update Jon Huffmaster, Legislative Director


here’s an old Arabian tale in which a Bedouin camel driver, asleep in his tent, wakes to find the nose of his camel inside the edge of his tent. As the night progresses, the camel gradually occupies a greater portion of the tent until, by morning, the Bedouin finds that the camel has rooted him out into the cold. The “Egg Products Inspection Act Amendments of 2012” or H.R. 3798 is like the crafty camel for livestock and poultry producers. The bill, introduced by U.S. Rep. Kurt Schrader (D-OR) in January, would grant the federal government authority to regulate the size of cages for egg-laying hens. If passed, H.R. 3798 would require that all layer hens be kept in enriched cage housing, which has nearly double the space of conventional cages. Growers would be required to provide “adequate environmental enrichments” as defined by the Secretary of Agriculture. These changes would be phased in over 15 years following the bill’s enactment and are expected to cost growers $4 billion. Growers who fail to implement the housing requirements would be unable

Proposed layer hen regulations could affect all livestock to sell their eggs. According to the bill, “No person shall buy, sell, or transport, or offer to buy or sell, or offer to receive for transportation, in any business or commerce any eggs or egg products derived from egg-laying hens housed or treated in violation of any provision of” the law. H.R. 3798 is the result of an agreement reached last summer by the United Egg Producers (UEP) and the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) regarding animal care standards for egg-laying hens. For years, egg producers have been targets of radical animal welfare organizations that oppose animal agriculture. State initiatives have been passed in California, Michigan, and Ohio. Additional ballot questions are being debated in Oregon and Washington. A press release UEP issued last July announcing the agreement said “...such legislation is necessary in order to protect our customers and the marketplace from any disruption that could occur if a patchwork series of state laws and regulations regarding hen housing were implemented...we believe it is far better to have one single, national standard in

Talmadge Allen “Tas” Smith has been named the Georgia Farm Bureau national affairs specialist, GFB President Zippy Duvall recently announced. Smith, who has been a member of the GFB legislative team for six years, will continue to work on legislative issues at the state level as needed but will now concentrate on GFB’s national efforts and working with Georgia’s congressional delegation. “Tas has represented our farmers’ legislative interests well during his career at Farm Bureau. As agriculture faces the threat of more federal regulations we thought it wise to appoint a member of our staff to concentrate on national issues,” Duvall said. A native of Taylor County, Smith and his wife, Stephanie, reside in Houston County with their two children, Talmadge and Mary Edwards. Smith graduated from Valdosta State University with a bachelor’s degree in political science. Smith previously worked for the GFB Mutual Insurance Company as a farm policy underwriter. He is a 2010 graduate of the Georgia Agrileaders Forum. 8 / January-February 2012

Photo by Jay Stone

Smith named GFB national affairs specialist

federal legislation for the production of shell egg and egg product markets without state trade barriers for our customers...this is especially important for our retail customers that have stores in multiple states.” Farm Bureau empathizes with the position UEP is in but will not support additional federal encroachment onto farms. Georgia Farm Bureau Policy 301G, Animal Care, opposes “any laws which would mandate specific farming practices in livestock or poultry production.” While H.R. 3798 only pertains to egg-laying hens, it sets a dangerous precedent by creating a statute that could be easily amended to expand its reach to other livestock and poultry producers. Judging from experience with the Clean Water Act, the Clean Air Act, the Endangered Species Act, and other acts, there is historical evidence that the scope of federal regulations tend to expand over time rather than decrease. The legislation is unnecessary. Farmers know they have a moral obligation to provide a healthy, humane environment for their animals, and this is a responsibility they take seriously. Animals under stress do not generally perform as well as animals in a good environment, so farmers are going to take good care of their animals. Finally, there is no scientific evidence to suggest enriched cage housing is better for hens than current housing. This proposition is based largely on the political goals of an animal rights group that, given its way, would ban animal agriculture altogether. Relying on politics rather than science to determine how animals are raised is wrong. This is one camel whose nose needs to be kept out of the tent. GFB members should contact their U.S. representative and urge opposition to H.R. 3798. Jon Huffmaster is director of the GFB Legislative Department. Georgia Farm Bureau News

By Jay Stone ___________________________________

The priorities for Georgia’s water use plans are not likely to change under new leadership at the Georgia Environmental Protection Division according to Cliff Lewis, assistant chief of the EPD’s Watershed Protection Branch, who spoke during the water commodity conference at the 2011 Georgia Farm Bureau Convention. Jud Turner was nominated by Gov. Deal and approved by the Georgia Board of Natural Resources in December as the new EPD director, succeeding Allen Barnes who resigned to work in the private sector. “I think that we’ll basically be going down the same path in terms of what’s important,” Lewis said. Turner was former Gov. Sonny Perdue’s executive counsel and served as the then-governor’s legal representative in negotiations with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and U.S. Fish & Wildlife

Service regarding drought operations at the federal reservoirs of the ApalachicolaChattahoochee-Flint (ACF) and AlabamaCoosa-Tallapoosa (ACT) River Basins. Turner has also served Gov. Deal as special executive counsel in Georgia water negotiations. A native of Albany, Turner served as general counsel to the Georgia Department of Education from 2003-2005 and is a founding partner of the law firm Turner, Bachman & Garrett LLC and the public affairs firm Georgia 360 LLC. Lewis reviewed the formation of regional and state water management plans and stressed that the EPD’s water priorities would continue to be the deepening of the Port of Savannah, exploring the potential for reservoirs in the Atlanta region and accounting for agricultural water use in the ongoing tri-state water negotiations between Georgia, Alabama and Florida. Lewis said the EPD is looking for ways to measure how water is consumed through agricultural use.

“We don’t believe it’s 100 percent consumptive, but unfortunately we don’t have anything to back up another number,” Lewis said. “One thing we have heard loud and Turner clear through the first round of regional water planning is that’s something that needs to stay on the radar.”

Deal approves water task force recommendations On Dec. 28, Gov. Nathan Deal approved recommendations of his Water Supply Task Force (WSTF), which he established soon after taking office in 2011. The WSTF consists of the heads of the Georgia Department of Natural Resources, the Georgia Environmental Protection Division, the Georgia Department of Community Affairs, the Georgia Department See task force page 23


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January-February 2012/ 9

Photo courtesy of the Ga. Environmental Protection Division

Turner named EPD director

AFBF convention addresses ag issues in Hawaiian style Article & photos by Jennifer Whittaker _____________________________________


delegation of 245 Georgia Farm Bureau members represented the state well while attending the American Farm Bureau Federation annual convention Jan. 8-10 in Honolulu, Hawaii. Polk County Farm Bureau members Chad and Julie Carlton were one of three couples named runners-up for the AFBF Young Farmer Achievement Award, which recognizes farmers 35 or younger who have excelled in their farm operation and exhibited strong leadership skills. The Carltons won a Case IH Farmall 65A, courtesy of Case IH, a $5,000 savings bond and a STIHL Farm Boss, courtesy of STIHL. Ben and Jennifer Moore of Tennessee won the award and received their choice of a 2012 Chevy Silverado or GMC Sierra truck courtesy of GM. Georgia Farm Bureau won AFBF Awards of Excellence for its programs in 10 / January-February 2012

Cherokee County Farm Bureau members Vickie and William Grizzle (back left and right) and Shirley and Horace Pahl enjoy the Honolulu harbor cruise GFB members took.

the areas of Agriculture Education and Promotion, Leadership Development, Member Services and Public Relations and Information. Georgia was one of 38 states to receive the Apex Award from the AFBF Foundation for Agriculture for increasing its total investment in the foundation by 10 percent or more in the previous year. Jackson County Farm Bureau member Sara Ervin competed in the AFBF Young Farmer Discussion Meet, won by Heather Barnes of North Carolina. Ervin competed against Barnes in her second round of competition. “This has been a tremendous convention for our organization. I’m extremely proud of the Carltons for being named one of the top young farm families in the country and for the

Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack announced FSA office closures during the convention.

way Sara represented our state in the discussion meet,” GFB President Zippy Duvall said. “The convention has given our members a great opportunity to see some beautiful country and learn more about issues facing us as farmers.” Convention attendees heard speeches from Hawaii Gov. Neil Abercrombie, U.S. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack and humor columnist Dave Berry. Abercrombie discussed steps his state is taking to produce more of its own food and import less food from the mainland, saying the 50th state is always only a few days away from being unable to feed its people should the transportation system used to import food break down. He has formed a committee to create an “agricul-

Pictured from left, Roger Phelps of STIHL and Scott Raber of Case IH congratulate Georgia Farm Bureau members Chad and Julie Carlton Carlton for being named runners-up for the AFBF Young Farmers & Ranchers Achievement Award as they accept the award from AFBF President Bob Stallman. The Carltons raise free-range layer hens and sell the eggs directly to consumers and restaurants in metro Atlanta. Georgia Farm Bureau News

Photo by Donna Rocker

Pictured from left, GFB 8th District Women’s Chairman Melanie Raines of Turner County, GFB 1st District Women’s Chairman Nanette Bryan of Chattooga County, GFB 10th District Women’s Chairman Jeannie Tucker of Berrien County, GFB Women’s Leadership Committee Chairman Linda Crumley of Barrow County, Bonnie Duvall of Greene County and Shirley Jarriel of Tattnall County attended the AFBF Women’s Leadership Luncheon and Business Session.

tural renaissance” in the state to encourage residents to grow gardens and connect kids to locally grown food. Noting that Congress has cut the USDA’s budget by $3 billion over 10 years, Vilsack announced USDA will close 131 Farm Service Agency offices this year as part of a reallocation of USDA resources due to the federal budget crisis. The plan includes a workforce decrease of more than 7,000 employees, streamlining services and the consolidation or closure of an additional 128 USDA facilities and labs nationwide in an effort to save $150 million annually. In Georgia, Farm Service Agency offices in Baker, Morgan and Candler counties are slated for closure, along with an Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) office in Clayton County and the J. Phil Campbell Sr. Natural Resource Conservation Center in Oconee County. * Vilsack said he considers it vital that the

next farm bill include provisions that: provide an adequate safety net when it is needed, with a combination of crop insurance and some form of revenue protection program; continue conservation programs, with more flexibility; continue promoting and expanding international agriculture trade; fund ag research; provide support programs for beginning farmers, including programs to expand local and regional food systems. While attending the convention, Farm Bureau members had the opportunity to attend workshops about the pending farm bill, the outlook for crops and livestock in 2012, current and future trade opportunities with Asia for agriculture, estate planning and government regulations facing farmers. American Farm Bureau adopted several of GFB’s 33 policy submissions during the policy session on Jan. 10, such as policy supporting a constitutional amendment that would require a balanced federal budget.

AFBF President Bob Stallman (left) congratulates GFB President Zippy Duvall on Georgia receiving four awards of excellence for its member programs.

Pictured from left, Cobb County Farm Bureau members Chelsea Kirk, Stan Kirk and Stephany and Michael Mason join GFB 1st Dist. Director Wesley Hall and his wife, Dawn, at the AFBF member services booth.

Georgia Farm Bureau News

GFB Young Farmer Committee 10th District Chairman Garrett Ganas and Nydia McDowell were married Jan. 8 at the Moana Surfrider on Waikiki Beach. Congratulations to the newlyweds!

Georgia delegates spoke in favor of several policies that AFBF delegates adopted including an increase in bonding requirements for livestock buyers to protect producers, a federal dairy program that accounts for regional differences in supply and demand and support for a federal government indemnification program to address situations where erroneous government reports result in agricultural enterprises suffering financial losses. GFB also encouraged AFBF to support the preservation of direct payments as part of the next farm bill but AFBF delegates did not adopt this policy. * Information compiled by Jay Stone

January-February 2012 / 11

Ga. Dept. of Ag releases labor study By Jay Stone ___________________________________


he Georgia Department of Agriculture’s study on agricultural labor presented to Gov. Nathan Deal, Lt. Gov. Casey Cagle and Georgia House Speaker David Ralston on Jan. 3 recommends federal reform, expanded public education about H-2A and more research into the labor shortage issues Georgia farmers encountered in 2011 after the Georgia General Assembly passed House Bill 87, which mandated the study. “The results of this survey continue to make clear that the solution to labor issues facing Georgia producers rests in the hands of the federal government,” Black said. “Agriculture is our state’s number one

industry, yet the federal government is failing to provide our farmers with the skilled labor they need to harvest crops in a legal and efficient manner. It is time that our friends in Washington step up to the plate and provide us with a system that works.” The GDA surveyed more than 800 Georgia farmers from 138 counties regarding their access to laborers to plant and harvest crops. The survey asked for their assessment on the viability of H-2A, the federal government’s program dealing with migrant workers, and it sought to gauge whether and to what extent Georgia farms lost income due to shortage of labor. The study also explored whether a state guest worker program was viable. Accord-

Ga. DOL conducting survey of growers The Georgia Department of Labor is conducting a survey of the state’s fruit and vegetable growers to determine the prevailing and common agricultural practices in Georgia. The results of the survey, which has 22 questions for growers who use H-2A and 10 for those who do not, will be used by the U.S. Department of Labor to determine employee benefits and working conditions to be provided by Georgia agricultural employers who use the H-2A program. “It’s important that the Department of Labor get an accurate picture of the skill level required for farm work,” Georgia Farm Bureau President Zippy Duvall said. “It’s possible that it could change the requirements for the type of labor that DOL sends to our farms.” Georgia Labor Commissioner Mark Butler sent a letter to Georgia growers on Jan. 23 with a printed copy of the survey. Butler stressed the importance of participation in the survey by all Georgia fruit and vegetable growers, whether they use H-2A or not. The survey is voluntary and information will not be identifiable by individual grower. The survey can be filled out online at The deadline to submit responses is Feb. 24. Georgia Fruit & Vegetable growers who did not receive a survey letter by mail should contact the Georgia DOL Agricultural Services Unit at 404-232-3500 to obtain a verification code so they can fill out the survey online or have a copy of the survey mailed to them. According to Butler’s letter, the results will be sent to the U.S. DOL by April, and the aggregate results will be made available on the Georgia DOL website by June. 12 / January-February 2012

ing to Black, Georgia Attorney General Sam Olens concluded that a state guest worker program would not be compliant with federal law after a review of federal law and inquiries to the U.S. Department of Justice. The report makes three main recommendations: • Only the federal government has the ability to reform existing agriculture guest worker programs to make them effective for farmers. Available options for farmers are too cumbersome, unreliable and bureaucratic to be practical in today’s modern economy. • More resources need to be implemented to educate the ag industry about the H-2A program. More than 40 percent of those who answered the survey indicated that H-2A was not applicable to them and another 20 percent indicated they were unfamiliar with H-2A. • More research needs to be conducted to fully understand Georgia agriculture labor. Among the respondents, 574 answered the financial loss questions. Of those, 26 percent indicated they lost income in 2011 due to a lack of available laborers. Those losses totaled about $10 million. Of the survey respondents who produce blueberries, cabbage, cantaloupe, cucumbers, eggplant, peppers, squash, tobacco and watermelons, more than 50 percent reported income losses. Black said a side effect of HB 87 was to elevate the immigration debate at the federal level. The report provides a summary of proposed federal labor legislation including the Better Agricultural Resources Now (BARN) Act introduced by U.S. Rep. Jack Kingston and cosponsored by Reps. Sanford Bishop and Lynn Westmoreland, and the Helping Agriculture Receive Verifiable Employees Securely and Temporarily (HARVEST) Act introduced by Sen. Saxby Chambliss. The report also includes a review of new immigration laws and initiatives in other states, as well as Black’s testimony before Congress on migrant farm labor and the text of HB 87. Visit AgLaborReport.pdf to read the report. Georgia Farm Bureau News

CONVENTION continued from page 7

GFB elects directors

Photos by Jay Stone

both courtesy of GFB and an Arctic Cat 500 all-terrain-vehicle courtesy of Southern Farm Bureau Life Insurance. The three finalists each received $350 from SunTrust Bank. Other state awards presented included: Outstanding Promotion & Education Award and Outstanding Women’s Leadership Award both received by Cherokee County Farm Bureau; Outstanding Legislative Award received by Newton County Farm Bureau; Outstanding Young Farmer Committee Award received by Madison County Farm Bureau; Outstanding Member Services Award received by Clayton County Farm Bureau and New Farmer Member Award received by Johnson County Farm Bureau. Phyllis Boyd, Berrien County Farm Bureau office manager, received the Outstanding Secretary Award in recognition of her professionalism and her work to promote agriculture and Farm Bureau in her local community. She has been employed with BCFB since April 2009.

Georgia Farm Bureau voting delegates elected directors and ratified officers during the 2011 convention. GFB President Zippy Duvall of Greene County continues his third, Bell Brown Hall two-year term. Bernard Sims of Catoosa County was re-elected unopposed as GFB North Georgia vice president. Voting delegates re-designated Gerald Long of Decatur County as the organization’s 1st vice president as Long begins serving the second year of his second, three-year term as South Georgia vice president. Robert Fountain Jr. of Emanuel County begins the third year of his three-year term as GFB Middle Georgia vice president. In district director elections, Wesley Hall of Forsyth County was elected as a GFB 1st District director. Gary Bell of Evans County was elected as a GFB 7th District director, and Kim Brown of Macon County was elected as GFB 8th District director. Each of these directors were elected for a two-year term. The following were re-elected unopposed to serve two-year terms on the GFB Board of Directors: 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; Paul Shirah of Mitchell County, 9th District and David Lee of Bacon County, 10th District. Jake Carter of Henry County was named chairman of the Georgia Farm Bureau Young Farmer Committee. Linda Crumley of Barrow County was named chairman of the Georgia Farm Bureau Women’s Committee. Both will serve a one-year term as committee chairmen and will sit on the Georgia Farm Bureau Board of Directors.


If you can’t be there, we can. She’s been dreaming of this day since she was a little girl. But if you can’t be there to see it, you can at least make sure that you’ve planned for her happiness. Farm Bureau Insurance* has a wide range of life insurance policies that can meet your family’s needs. Hopefully you will be there for all of her life’s greatest moments. But if you can’t, Farm Bureau Insurance* will be there to help see her through.

Georgia Farm Bureau News

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January-February 2012/ 13

Photo by Jay Stone

Patrons at the Southeast Regional Fruit & Vegetable Conference got a closer look at all aspects of the fruit and vegetable industry on the event’s trade show floor, from the latest machinery and production techniques to this display of fresh vegetables.

Agritourism featured at Fruit & Vegetable Conference By Jay Stone __________________________________________________________________________

14 / January-February 2012

es, vegetables, Vidalia onions, watermelons, muscadines, blueberries, strawberries, blackberries, raspberries and pecans. The Georgia Olive Growers Association also offered an educational session for the first time. In addition to the commodity production sessions, workshops covered good agricultural (GAP) food safety practices, organic production and roadside markets. Growers heard the latest developments on Georgia’s ag labor situation. Georgia Agriculture Commissioner Gary Black and Georgia Attorney General Sam Olens gave briefings on the results of Georgia’s agricultural labor survey. Georgia Fruit & Vegetable Growers

Chafin named Sunbelt farm manager The Sunbelt Agricultural Exposition has named Michael Chafin the farm manager of its 600-acre Darrell Williams Research Farm, effective Nov. 28. Chafin is a fourth generation farmer, has attended the Sunbelt Expo each of the past 26 years and has worked periodically on the Sunbelt farm since his youth. A Georgia Master 4-Her and National FFA finalist while in high school, he attended Valdosta Technical College. “Michael brings a wealth of knowledge and energy to the Expo with his strong background in farming,” Sunbelt Executive Director Chip Blalock said. “His hands-on farming experience has prepared him well for his new position.” The 35th Sunbelt Expo will be held Oct. 16-18. Chafin may be reached by email at or by phone at 229-921-1067.

Photo courtesy of Sunbelt

For the first time, the Georgia Agritourism Association held its annual meeting in conjunction with the 2012 Southeast Regional Fruit & Vegetable Conference. The agritourism conference offered seminars on marketing, the risks and rewards of running an agritourism enterprise, diversifying a farm business and operating roadside markets. “Agritourism is the fastest-growing segment of not only tourism but agriculture in the state of Georgia,” said Georgia Agritourism Association President Jeff Manley, who manages The Rock Ranch. “Georgia is working very hard toward getting organized and bringing a lot of collective efforts together to make agritourism a little bit more unified.” Drew Echols, of Jaemor Farms in Hall County, discussed the risks and rewards of operating an agritourism enterprise during the agritourism education session. “You can have a corn maze, a winery, a roadside market. There’s a lot of different things that fit into this industry,” Echols said. The conference, held Jan. 5-8 at the Savannah International Convention and Trade Center, offered more than 85 hours of commodity specific production training, pest management information and marketing updates for more than 2,000 attendees and featured more than 230 exhibitors. Commodities covered included peach

Association President Dick Minor said 2011, “… was a tough year for immigration policy with the passage of House Bill 87. So that was the number one issue on everybody’s mind. It’s so critical to specialty crop producers because without the harvest labor we don’t have an industry.” Minor also discussed the importance of grower-funded research, noting that the GFVGA has provided $120,000 in funding for research projects, helping to fill gaps caused by budget cuts to UGA Extension and other government programs. The funds have been used to search for a fumigant to replace methyl bromide, research into chemical resistance in insects and other stressors on fruit and vegetable crops. “It’s becoming more and more critical that we assess the growers and collect the money,” Minor said. “We’ve got a broad array of projects we’re funding. We’ve had quite a bit more projects requesting funds than we had funds to allocate.” Georgia Farm Bureau Commodities Marketing Specialist Brandon Ashley helped moderate the session on roadside markets, which included an overview of the USDA’s Farm to School initiative in Georgia and South Carolina. “I want farmers to know that school lunch programs are something that are never going to go away,” said Georgia Organics Outreach Coordinator Ashley Rouse, who works with the Farm to School program in Georgia, “and help them understand the connection they can make from what they grow in their fields to the cafeterias of their schools.”

Georgia Farm Bureau News

Photo by Jay Stone

Record crops yield corn awards for Dowdy By Jay Stone ___________________________________

When Randy Dowdy started growing corn six years ago, he went to researchers and farmers he respected to learn how to maximize his corn yields on his Brooks County farm. He tried everything, turning his land into a test farm to conduct his own variety trials. Now, they’re coming to him, asking his secrets after he produced Georgia’s highest corn yields for two straight years and set a state yield record on irrigated land in 2011 with 364 bushels per acre. According to retired UGA Extension Agronomist Dr. Dewey Lee, that yield surpassed the previous state record by more than 60 bushels per acre. This production entry won Dowdy the 2011 Georgia High Yield Corn Contest in the irrigated production category. “It’s really a system,” said Dowdy, who placed second nationally in two categories of the 2011 National Corn Growers Association (NCGA) Corn Yield Contest. “I start with fall tillage, completely fracturing the hardpan in the fall and again in the spring. I’m being very careful to choose a good hybrid that fits into my system. That hybrid has to have good stalk strength and give you good yield potential.” Dowdy’s plot of Pioneer P1814 HR corn produced 352.3 bushels per acre in the irrigated category of the NCGA contest, second to Double SA Farms of Hart, Texas, which produced 370.4 bushels per acre. In the no-till/strip-till irrigated category of the national contest, Dowdy’s stand of Pioneer P2023HR corn yielded 363.5 bushels per acre, second behind David Hula of Charles City, Va., who produced a yield of 429 bushels per acre. “I’ve planted some of all of the seed companies’ hybrids,” Dowdy said. “Pioneer’s have been my highest yielders.” Dowdy paid attention to detail, moniGeorgia Farm Bureau News

Randy Dowdy, left, accepts a plaque from retired UGA Extension Agronomist Dr. Dewey Lee. Dowdy won two categories of the 2011 Georgia High Yield Corn Contest and finished second in the same categories of the 2011 National Corn Growers Association Yield Contest.

toring the plants, taking tissue samples and quickly responding to the information he was getting. “It’s very important when you plant a crop that you are able to supply the plant’s water needs,” Dowdy said. “That’s probably the most influential yield-limiting factor.” Dowdy set his record on rolling terrain with soil that his farming neighbors joked was “only good enough to hold the world together.” “He has some of the worst soils of anybody,” said Dr. Lee. “He just put it all together. He looked at that formula for what it takes to make a great yield. If he could do that on his farm, a lot of people could do it.” Dowdy won the 2011 Georgia High Yield Corn Contest in both of the categories for which he placed second in the NCGA Corn Yield Contest. In the irrigated category, Eric Taft of Ware County was second at 299.7 bushels an acre, and Jonathan Hitchcock of Washington County was third at 293.9. In the no-till/strip till irrigated category, Teel Warbington in Dooly County was second at 280.3 bushels per acre, while Mike Newberry in Early County was third at 274.5. John Lowrey Farms was the top Georgia grower in the no-till/strip till non-irrigated category of the NCGA contest, producing 242.2 bushels an acre. Jane Smith of Dawson County was second at 236, and Jerry Smith of Dawson County was third at 232. Murray County grower David Stafford

won the dryland high yield category of the Georgia contest at 290.3 bushels per acre and won the dryland category of the 2011 Georgia Corn Production Efficiency Contest, achieving his production at a cost of 85 cents a bushel. Mike Newberry won the irrigated category in the production efficiency contest with 295 bushels per acre at a cost of $2.85 per bushel.

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January-February 2012/ 15

Photo by Jay Stone

Members of the 2012 Georgia Farm Bureau Young Farmer Committee, pictured from left, are: Jacob & Emily Nolan (7th Dist., Wayne County); Andrew Ruark (4th Dist., Morgan County) with friend Lauren Caldwell; Brad & Ashlee Wood (8th Dist.,Wilcox County); Joe & Leigh Rush (1st Dist., Floyd County); Chairmen Jennifer & Jake Carter (3rd Dist., Henry County); Emily & Sam Watson (9th Dist., Colquitt County); Vice Chairman Brian Ogletree (5th Dist., Spalding County); Keegan Malone (6th Dist., Laurens County); and Thomas & Alicia Harrell (2nd Dist., Madison County).Not pictured are Melissa Ogletree and Garrett & Nydia Ganas (10th Dist., Ware County).

GFB YF Committee announces 2012 events By Jed Evans ___________________________________

The 2012 Georgia Farm Bureau Young Farmer Committee is looking forward to a very busy year. During the GFB convention, the committee kicked off the year by selecting Jake and Jennifer Carter of Henry County to chair the YF Committee and Brian and Melissa Ogletree of Spalding County to serve as vice chairs. The Young Farmer Committee will host several events, programs and trips this year. On March 1, the Young Farmer Committee is co-hosting a “Social Media 101” workshop in cooperation with the GFB Certified Farm Market Program and the Georgia Agritourism Association. Young

farmers have focused on the importance of social media in today’s world and are excited about presenting this workshop for those who are just learning how to tell their story using these outlets. On March 6-9, 30 GFB Young Farmers from across the state will travel to our nation’s capital. While in Washington, D.C, the group will meet with Sens. Chambliss and Isakson, and all 13 of Georgia’s congressmen. The trip will also offer other networking opportunities and a guided tour of D.C. YF Competitive Events are a highlight of the young farmer program. Young Farmer Achievement Award applications will be sent to county offices in early

March. This award seeks to highlight outstanding young farmers whose primary income is from the farm. Check with your county Farm Bureau office manager to get an application or the details. One of the highlights for our volunteers is the annual Young Farmer Photo Contest. The committee will accept submissions April 2-April 27. We encourage amateur photographers to share their photos. The top 12 pictures will be featured in the 2013 Young Farmer Calendar. Details for the contest will be sent to the county offices in early April and posted on the GFB website. The committee also encourages young farmers to save the dates of July 12-15 for (Continued on next page)

During the 7th Annual Georgia Farm Bureau Harvest For All campaign the state’s 158 county Farm Bureau chapters combined to contribute $20,000, which was presented to Georgia Food Bank Association (GFBA) Executive Director Danah Craft during the 2011 GFB convention. The Georgia Farm Bureau Young Farmer Committee coordinated the campaign. The GFBA will distribute the funds to food banks in Savannah, Atlanta, Columbus, Athens, Augusta, Macon and Valdosta. The GFBA uses donated dollars to purchase high-protein, lowcost foods like chicken and peanut butter and to offset the costs of various outreach programs like mobile pantries, Manna drops and backpack programs. Since 2004, GFB has coordinated seven Harvest For All campaigns through which GFB members across the state donated about 49,000 pounds of staple food items and more than $60,000 16 / January-February 2012

Photo by Jay Stone

GFB donates $20,000 to Ga. food banks

Georgia Farm Bureau President Zippy Duvall, right, and 2011 GFB Young Farmer Chairman Wesley Hall, left, present a $20,000 check to Georgia Food Bank Association Executive Director Danah Craft.

in cash donations distributed to food banks throughout Georgia affiliated with Feeding America. Georgia Farm Bureau News

Georgia Farm Bureau’s annual Educational Leadership Conference will be held Saturday, March 24 at the Macon Marriott. The conference will begin at 9 a.m. and end at 3:30 p.m. Conference workshops will cover the organization’s commodity promotion for 2012-2013 and how to effectively develop a program to have students on the farm combined with classroom visits. Stephens County teacher Karrie Perrin will return with more great ideas for classroom activities. If you arrive in Macon on Friday evening, come enjoy refreshments during a meet and greet time from 7-9 p.m. We may also have a few games to play as people are arriving, so bring your game hat! You will be able to pick up registration packets Friday evening or Saturday morning prior to the conference. Registration for the conference is $45 per person. The Macon Marriott is located in downtown Macon next to the Macon Centreplex. The rate is $114 per night, single or double occupancy, plus state and local state taxes. Contact your county Farm Bureau or Donna Rocker at or 478-4740679, ext. 5365 for more information. (Continued from previous page) the annual GFB Young Farmer Leadership Conference. This year we will gather on Jekyll Island in the new Jekyll Island Convention Center. Highlights will include the preliminary rounds of the annual GFB Young Farmer Discussion Meet, dynamic speakers and multiple social opportunities. Applications will be sent to county Farm Bureau offices in early April for both the discussion meet and leadership conference. Check with your county Farm Bureau for more information about our upcoming Young Farmer programs and visit the GFB website to make sure you don’t miss any of the exciting events taking place in 2012! Jed Evans is the GFB Young Farmer Coordinator. Georgia Farm Bureau News

Photo by Jennifer Whittaker

Macon to host GFB Educational Leadership Conference

Members of the 2012 Georgia Farm Bureau Women’s Committee are: seated, from left: Nanette Bryan (1st Dist., Chattooga County); Janet Mazurek (2nd Dist., Elbert); Janet Gruel (3rd Dist., Fayette); Chairman Linda Crumley (4th Dist., Barrow), Brenda Cooley (5th Dist., Crawford) and standing, from left, Elaine Mercer (6th Dist., Laurens); Angela Todd (7th Dist., Evans); Melanie Raines (8th Dist., Turner); Angie Durham (9th Dist., Early) and Jeannie Tucker (10th Dist., Berrien).

GFB Women’s Committee kicks off year By Donna Rocker ___________________________________

The GFB Women’s Committee continues to promote beef as the commodity of the year, and the committee will host GFB’s Educational Leadership Conference in March. GFB volunteers are encouraged to attend the conference to

learn the commodity GFB will promote from July 2012-2013 and to get promotion ideas. Women’s Committees across the state will observe Food Check-Out Week Feb. 19-25 by educating the public about ways to eat healthy and how to stretch food dollars on a budget.

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January-February 2012/ 17

commodities/marketing update Don McGough

GFB members picked for advisory committees Georgia Farm Bureau has named the members of its commodity advisory committees for 2012. Each committee meets several times during the year to address issues pertinent to their commodity and assist with GFB’s policy development process. Georgia Farm Bureau has 20 commodity committees. Each committee chairman serves on the GFB Policy Development Committee. The GFB Commodity Committee chairmen make an important contribution to Farm Bureau by providing knowledge of their commodity and leadership for their committee. Their input provides an important link back to the farm and helps maintain the strong grassroots representation within Farm Bureau. The committees will meet throughout the spring to discuss issues regarding their commodities. They will meet again on August 9 during the GFB State Commodity Conference in Perry. Members of the 2012 GFB Commodity Committees are listed below along with their membership county. AQUACULTURE Chairman Terry Bramlett, Fannin; Vice Chairman Ricky Boyd, Berrien; Harold Fallin, Upson; Sherrell Fleming, McIntosh; Travis Henry, Douglas; Doug Langer, Monroe; Jimmy Lee, Brantley; Tommy Norris, Johnson; Steven Patrick, Habersham BEEF CATTLE Chairman John Callaway, Troup; Vice Chairman Charles Crumbley, Greene; Jeff Duncan, Madison; Sarah Kinser, So. Fulton; Jerry McKinnon, Coffee; Calvin Minchew, Bibb; Dr. Lanier Orr, Dawson; Samuel Perkins, Grady; Dr. Jim Strickland, Tattnall; Wayne Talton, Houston COTTON Chairman Eddie Green, Dooly; Vice Chairman Jason West, Candler; John Dunn, Tift; Tim Garrett, Emanuel; Johnny Hagan, Brooks; Wayne Hurley, Chattooga; Jim Langston, Houston; Rick Wansley, Elbert; Joey Williams, Cook; Michael Williams, Bleckley DAIRY Chairman Judd Chambers, Jones; Vice Chairman Matt Johnson, De18 / January-February 2012

catur; Bud Butcher, Coweta; Jimmy Franks, Burke; Cory Johnson, Bacon; Kenneth Murphy, Meriwether; Mark Rodgers, McDuffie; S.J. Saffold Jr., Morgan; Mark Stovall, Madison; Franklin Wright, Gilmer ENVIRONMENTAL HORTICULTURE Chairman Donald McCorkle Sr., McDuffie; Vice Chairman Matt Bottoms, Pike; Kellie Bowen, Hall; Linda Everett, Walton; Paul Long, Cherokee; Mark Porter, Fayette; David Ridgeway, Butts; Blake Rowland, Dodge; Craig Truitt, Elbert; Troy Windham, Laurens EQUINE Chairman Danny Hogan, Laurens; Vice Chairman Gary Walker, Tift; Brion Akins, Berrien; Jimmie Davis, Emanuel; Jan Ison, Richmond; Tom Kerlin, Fayette; Jimmy Kowalsky, Habersham; Darryl Landreth, Troup; Gerry Weaver, Gordon; Jimmy Wood Jr., Wilcox FEED GRAINS Chairman Brian Ogletree, Spalding; Vice Chairman Brent Galloway, Newton; Winston Brogdon, Berrien; James Gaston, Sumter; Walter Godwin, Grady; Nathan Hodges, Tattnall; Kerry Mize, Habersham; Daniel Morrell, Mitchell; Sonny Scoggins, Walker; Hugh H. Veal Jr., Johnson FORESTRY Chairman John W. Mixon, Pike; Vice Chairman Jimmy Kennedy, Hancock; Steve Collins, Mitchell; John Davis, Whitfield; James Gaskins, Berrien; Benjamin Hudson, Polk; Herman Stafford Jr., Long; William Tanner, Johnson; Willie J. Tyson, Houston; Calvin Wilbanks, Habersham FRUIT Chairman Bob McLeod, Wilcox; Vice Chairman William Mercier, Fannin; Debra Elliott, Bibb; Andy Futch, Gilmer; Timothy E. McMillian, Berrien; Keith Mitcham, Newton; Larry Moore, Lanier; Carla Payne, Gordon; Val Smith III, Laurens; Chad Sumner, Cook GOATS & SHEEP Chairman Mike Bunn, Walker; Vice Chairman Charles Batten, Washington; Raymond Bailey, Henry; Greg Gilman, Jackson; David Lewis, Glynn; Patricia Parson, Elbert; Greg Phillips, Whitfield; Wes Smith, Upson; Benton Ruzowicz,

Oglethorpe; Billy Waldrep, Monroe HAY Chairman Farrell Roberts, Tift; Vice Chairman Cory Tyre, Bacon; Gilbert Andrews, Harris; Chris Goldman, Lincoln; Larry Haley, Hart; Josh Lamb, Wilcox; Dexter Shearouse, Chatham; Jamie Tate, Jeff Davis; Stanley Williams, Haralson; Jason Witt, Gordon HONEYBEES Chairman Bobby Rowell, Brantley; Vice Chairman Gary Rentz, Brooks; David Bigham, Rockdale; Paul Cooper, Carroll; J. Keith Fielder, Putnam; J. B. Lemons, Walker; Jesse McCurdy, Houston; John Pluta, Baldwin; B.J. Weeks, Cherokee; Troy Worthey, Hart PEANUTS Chairman Wes Shannon, Tift; Vice Chairman Mike Lucas, Bleckley; Andy Bell, Decatur; Randy Branch, Appling; John Harrell, Grady; Ryan Harrell, Clay; Jared Howell, Cook; Gregg Keene, Wilcox; Frankie Sapp, Brooks; George T. Warbington, Dooly PECANS Chairman James Exum, Brooks; Vice Chairman Jim Lumpkin, Turner; Danny Brooks, Habersham; Kyle Durrence, Tattnall; Elliott Ellis, Dooly; Vinson Griffin, Berrien; Curry Hogan, Lincoln; Oney Hudson, Bibb; Chris McBryant, Wilcox; Lanair Worsham, Mitchell POULTRY Chairman Larry Cooley, Crawford; Vice Chairman Bubba Johnson, Mitchell; Carroll Castleberry, Forsyth; Bill Crapps, Appling; Barry Powell, Johnson; Phil Sanders, Oglethorpe; Lawrence Shadix, Carroll; Michael Thomason, Franklin; Guy Williams, Berrien; Stephen Wilson, Turner SOYBEANS Chairman Alan Scoggins, Walker; Vice Chairman Bobby Eavenson, Elbert; Wendell Arrington, Lee; Joe King, Clay; Dylan Kirkley, Newton; Larry Lodge, Brooks; Jimmy Phillips, Whitfield; Ty Powell, Johnson; Neil Skipper, Bibb; Glenn Waller, Washington SWINE Chairman Andrew Thompson, Brooks; Vice Chairman Dania DeVane, Randolph; Terry Danforth, Berrien; Danny Gunter, Wilkes; Brodie McCranie, Dodge; Pat Thrift, Charlton; Charles H. (Continued on next page) Georgia Farm Bureau News

GFB members named to AFBF committees Georgia Farm Bureau members have been named to 13 American Farm Bureau Federation Commodity Committees for 2012. Wes Shannon, of Tift County, will serve as chairman of the AFBF Peanut Committee. The committees provide farmer input during the AFBF policy Wes Shannon development process and make recommendations relative to their commodities to the AFBF Board of Directors. The committees will meet on a staggered schedule for three days each in Anaheim, Calif., the week of Feb. 19.

In addition to Shannon, GFB members serving on the committees are: Terry Bramlett, Fannin County (Aquaculture); Mike Bunn, Walker County (Sheep & Goat); Larry Cooley, Crawford County (Poultry); Eddie Green, Dooly County (Cotton); Danny Hogan, Laurens County (Equine); John Mixon, Pike County (Forestry); Brian Ogletree, Spalding County (Feed Grains); Bobby Rowell, Brantley County (Honey/ Apiculture); Alan Scoggins, Walker County, (Soybean); Andrew Thompson, Brooks County (Swine); Sam Watson, Colquitt County (Labor); and Jerry Wooten, Jeff Davis County (Tobacco). Thirteen GFB members were named alternates for the committees. They are: Charles D. Batten, Washington County (Sheep & Goat); Ricky Boyd, Berrien County (Aquaculture); Dania Devane,

Cobb new state veterinarian Georgia Agriculture Commissioner Gary Black has appointed Robert M. Cobb Jr. as Georgia’s state veterinarian, replacing Carter Black who retired in October. Cobb, who has been assistant state veterinarian since January 2010, earned a Bachelor of Science Degree from Valdosta State in 1976, followed by a year working as an animal health technician with the joint USDA-State Accelerated Brucellosis Program. Cobb earned his Doctor of Veterinary Medicine degree from the University of Georgia in 1981. Cobb began his professional career at Ogeechee Veterinary Associates in Millen with an emphasis in dairy theriogenology

and herd health management. In 1983 he purchased a mixed practice in Dublin, which he operated for three years. From 1987 through 2008, Cobb was a partner in Dublin Robert Cobb Animal Hospital, serving as the managing partner from 1987 through 2002. He continued to practice there through 2009. In 1995 Cobb worked with the Heart of Georgia Technical College in Dublin to create a veterinary assistant program.

(Continued from previous page) Usry Jr., Lee; Bill Waldrep Jr., Monroe; Don Williford, Crisp; Steve Wilhoit, Whitfield TOBACCO Chairman Jerry Wooten, Jeff Davis; Vice Chairman Ricky Tucker, Berrien; Charles Ed Barber, Bacon; Billy Burch, Wayne; Tim Crosby, Brooks; Paul Folsom, Lanier; Reid Turner, Appling; Lamar Vickers, Berrien VEGETABLES Chairman Sam Watson, Colquitt; Vice Chairman John Lowrey, Floyd; Dave Bentoski, Pike; Jessica Bryant, Jackson; Walter Driggers, Tattnall; John

Hudson, Irwin; Clint Hunter, Chattooga; Richard Minter, Fayette; Greg Murray, Decatur; Sam Nash, Oglethorpe WATER Chairman W.H. Haddock Jr., Early; Vice Chairman Larry Eley, Greene; Sam Chapman, Hall; Steve Dixon, Berrien; Randy Giddens, Dodge; William Grizzle, Cherokee; C.F. Harris, Crawford; Billy Sanders, Dooly; Doug Sowar, Paulding; Lee Webster Jr., Burke Don McGough is director of the GFB Commodities/Marketing Department.

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Randolph County (Swine); Bobby Eavenson, Elbert County (Soybean); Brent Galloway, Newton County (Feed Grains); John “Bubba” Johnson, Mitchell County (Poultry); Jimmy Kennedy, Hancock County (Forestry); Mike Lucas, Bleckley County (Peanut); Tim McMillan, Berrien County (Labor); Gary Rentz, Brooks County (Honey/Apiculture); Ricky Tucker, Berrien County (Tobacco); Gary Walker, Tift County (Equine); and Jason West, Candler County (Cotton).

Selman wins GFB Hay Contest

Chattooga County Farm Bureau member Randall Selman won the 2011 Georgia Farm Bureau Quality Hay Contest. Selman, who runs Selman Farms, submitted Tift 44 Bermuda grass for the contest and earned a relative forage quality (RFQ) score of 168.1. He lives in Armuchee and grows hay on a total of 200 acres of rented land in Chattooga and Floyd counties, 130 in Bermuda grass and the rest in fescue. His primary customers are horse owners. The contest drew 36 entries from 23 counties. The University of Georgia’s RFQ test, which measures nutrient content of the hay, was used to analyze the hay. GFB sponsors the annual contest to encourage superior hay production in the state. Entered samples had to have nitrate levels below 4,500 parts per million to be eligible for contest prizes. The winners were announced during the 2011 GFB convention. Dene Channell of Greene County finished second, achieving an RFQ score of 158.6 with his submission of Tift 85 Bermudagrass. Neil Wingfield of Lee County was third with an RFQ of 154.6 for his coastal Bermudagrass submission. Mandy Elliot of Bibb County submitted Bermudagrass and placed fourth at 152.6. Keith Boozer of Monroe County was fifth, achieving an RFQ score of 146.2 with Tift 44. January-February 2012/ 19

AROUND GEORGIA News from County Farm Bureaus courtesy of the Banks County Extension Office, and saw live farm animals.

BACON COUNTY Bacon County Farm Bureau educated its community about beef and dairy cows during the fall community festival. BCFB Office Manager Jeanne Taylor (pictured, left) talks to two of about 1,000 children who milked Betsy, the dairy “cow,” at the festival. Betsy is a two-sided plywood cow that has an “udder” made of four calf bottles with nipples hanging upside down through a shelf running between the sides. To simulate the milking experience, volunteers fill the bottles with powdered milk mixed with water and hang the bottles. Two children can milk Betsy at one time sitting on stools on each side. The children spray the milk into a bucket beneath the udder. Empty bottles are refilled using the milk from the bucket. Thanks to the generosity of the local high school shop teacher, who supervised his students building the cow, Betsy only cost $44 to make - the cost of the plywood. Dairy farmer and BCFB Director Cory Johnson donated the calf bottles.

BANKS COUNTY More than 700 students at Banks County Primary School learned about farming thanks to the farm day Banks County Farm Bureau cosponsored for the school last fall. The BCFB Women’s Committee gave each teacher packets with enough ag activity sheets and other educational material for all their students. The committee also showed the video “Without Farmers, Georgia Can’t Grow.” Pictured from left, BCFB members Kelli and Margie Ward hand out “I met a farmer” stickers, while BCFB Women’s Chair Ann Gordon and Louise Sheridan talk to the students about beef. The students also enjoyed a hayride cosponsored by BCFB and the Banks County Horse Association, saw the Georgia Milk Producers mobile dairy classroom milking demonstration 20 / January-February 2012

CHEROKEE COUNTY Cherokee County Farm Bureau members Terry and Jeannie Ross hosted a 48-member delegation of South Korean honeybee industry representatives at their farm in September. The delegation included the president and vice president of the Korean Beekeeping Association, the reigning Miss Korea Queen Bee, professors from Kyonggi University, the president and vice president of Korea Apiculture Agricultural Cooperatives and several CEOs of bee-related companies. The delegation was on its way to the 42nd International Apicultural Congress in Buenos Aires, Argentina, with a layover in Atlanta. CCFB representatives welcomed the delegation to Georgia giving them free honeybee bookmarks, packets of Georgia peanuts and pens promoting Georgia agriculture.

CLAYTON COUNTY Clayton County Farm Bureau educated area residents about Georgia’s beef industry through the booth it hosted at the local fall festival. CCFB Office Manager Teresa Myers (center, left) and Secretary Linda Schray (center, right) play “How well do you know your cow?” with a child at the festival. All kids who played the game won a gift bag containing beef bookmarks and candy. Volunteers also gave away peanuts and answered questions about Farm Bureau membership, while an agent answered questions about insurance. COLUMBIA COUNTY Columbia County Farm Bureau hosted a fishing tournament for local FFA students at CCFB Director Lee Anderson’s farm. Anderson (far left) is pictured with all of the students who particiGeorgia Farm Bureau News

pated in the tournament. Lucas Blackledge caught the biggest bass and Will Plagenhoef caught the biggest crappie. CCFB served the students grilled hamburgers and hot dogs with all the trimmings and had the fish mounted for the students. FRANKLIN COUNTY Franklin County Farm Bureau President Michael Thomason (left) and FCFB Director Max Freeman manned the FCFB booth at the Martin Fall Festival. They handed out material promoting Farm Bureau membership and benefits and Farm-City Week along with bags of peanuts. The booth reached more than 300 people who attended the festival. GREENE COUNTY In September, Greene County Farm Bureau hosted a booth that highlighted Farm Bureau membership and member services during “A Tasteful Event” held by the Chamber of Commerce in downtown Greensboro. GCFB Agent Sam McGaughey and GCFB Office Manager Shirley Duvall are pictured manning the booth.

send the band to New Orleans. Eleven teams competed in the wing cook-off. In addition to being the sponsor, ICFB entered a team, which placed third, consisting of ICFB Agency Manager Charles Purvis, agents Todd Young and Lanier McCurdy and GFB 10th Dist. Field Rep. Michael Purvis. ICFB President Gary Paulk and his brother, Terrence, won the contest. Pictured from left are ICFB Office Manager Betty Metts, Director Wesley Paulk, Michael Purvis, Charles Purvis, Lanier McCurdy, ICFB Secretary Marlene Mykytka, Todd Young, Director John Hudson and Gary Paulk.

LANIER COUNTY Lanier County Farm Bureau teamed up with the Lanier County Primary and Elementary Schools to see which classes at each school could collect the most cans during their Harvest for All food drive. Debbie Poe’s third grade class, pictured at the elementary school, brought in 100 cans and won a pizza party. Kimberly Sirmans’ second grade class from Lanier Primary School won an ice-cream party for collecting the most cans at their school. OGLETHORPE COUNTY Oglethorpe County Farm Bureau is busy promoting beef in its community. In November, OCFB visited Little Friends Preschool to educate the three and fouryear-old students about beef production. OCFB Office Manager Linda Whitehead (far left, back row) and OCFB Secretary Amanda Cutsail (far right, back row) read the students a book explaining how farmers care for their cattle and the different products that come from cows. The students enjoyed mini-cheeseburgers for snacks, and each student received a gift bag from OCFB containing a beef coloring book, pencil and eraser.

Georgia Trend recognizes Ag leaders

IRWIN COUNTY The Irwin County Marching Big Red Band played at the Sugar Bowl in New Orleans in January thanks to Irwin County Farm Bureau sponsoring a Wing Fest last fall that raised $5,500 to help Georgia Farm Bureau News

Georgia Trend Magazine included Georgia ag leaders in its 2012 lists of Notable Georgians and 100 Most Influential Georgians. The Notable Georgians list included: GFB President Zippy Duvall, UGA College of Agricultural & Environmental Sciences Dean Scott Angle and Georgia Forestry Commission Director Robert Farris. The Most Influential Georgians included Georgia Agriculture Commissioner Gary Black and Georgia Senate Ag Committee Chairman Sen. John Bulloch. January-February 2012/ 21

Farm-City Week celebrations held statewide County Farm Bureaus across Georgia observed National FarmCity Week Nov. 18-24, 2011. Georgia Farm Bureau held a contest to recognize the top three FCW events in each district. Three counties from each district received a $50 credit to purchase items from the GFB Field Services Department to help with future events. The district winners were: District 1: Cherokee, Dawson & Whitfield; District 2: Franklin, Habersham, & Stephens; District 3: Douglas, Haralson & South Fulton; District 4: Barrow, Oglethorpe & Taliaferro; District 5: Harris, Pike & Upson; District 6: Jeff Davis, Laurens & Telfair; District 7: Emanuel, Toombs & Wayne; District 8: Lee, Stewart & Turner; District 9: Baker, Brooks & Tift; District 10: Berrien, Cook & Irwin. Visit GFB’s Facebook page at to view a photo album of all the district winners and other events we received. STEPHENS Stephens County FB hosted a dinner attended by more than 240 guests. Guest speakers included Lt. Gov. Casey Cagle. SCFB presented awards for Ag in the Classroom participation, Cattleman of the Year, Friend of Agriculture, SCFB Hall of Fame and Farm Family of the Year. SCFB President Brown Dean (center) is pictured presenting the award to Melinda and Barry Adams and their daughters Hanna and Sara Beth.

BARROW Barrow County FB joined forces with the county Extension Service to host a tour attended by a group of 48 farmers, business owners, employees and home-school students. Tour stops included the Big D Donnie Davis Limousine cattle and poultry farm, where Davis (pictured, right) described farm life. The tour also visited the Harrison Poultry Hatchery and the Barrow County 911 Communications Center where speakers discussed the types of emergencies that occur on farms. EMANUEL Emanuel County FB held a field trip for 98 Twin City Elementary third graders. The tour visited Clay Clark’s farm (pictured) where Clark explained how pecans are grown, harvested, dried and shipped. The students then visited Atkinson Candy Company 22 / January-February 2012

where they saw how pecans are made into pecan logs. ECFB also held a lunch where a farm family and city person were recognized.

UPSON Upson County FB joined forces with Ag South Credit, ACA and the Chamber of Commerce to hold a breakfast at The Rock Ranch attended by about 145 people. Rep. Tom McCall, chairman of the Georgia Agriculture & Consumer Affairs Committee, was the guest speaker.

LAURENS The Laurens County FB, Chamber of Commerce & county Extension Service co-sponsored a lunch attended by more than 200. Georgia Commissioner of Agriculture Gary Black was the guest speaker. Each table was decorated with information about beef, the GFB commodity of the year. LEE Lee County FB promoted FCW by placing posters in local businesses around town and discussing the week at the county’s annual meeting. Leesburg Mayor Jim Quinn is pictured presenting a signed FCW proclama(Continued on next page) Georgia Farm Bureau News

TASK FORCE continued from page 9 of Agriculture, the Georgia Soil and Water Conservation Commission, the Georgia State Financing and Investment Commission and the Georgia State Properties Commission. The group was tasked with writing a plan that considered the current challenges associated with developing new water supply projects and outlined solutions. Deal moved forward on the development of reservoirs when he approved the final report of the WSTF, which outlines water supply initiatives and recommendations for the Governor’s Water Supply Program (GWSP). On Dec. 15, the WSTF submitted the final report, which is available at http://www. Through the GWSP, the Georgia Environmental Finance Authority (GEFA) and the Georgia Department of Community Affairs (DCA) will allocate $300 million over the next four years to support water supply projects. The GWSP will support local government projects and will tailor its financing to meet the unique needs of individual projects. Eligible projects include new reservoirs, expanding existing reservoirs, system interconnections, wells, water supply planning, indirect potable reuse, and aquifer storage and recovery. To aid the launch of the GWSP, Deal instructed GEFA and DCA to open the GWSP in January with the goal of making funding awards by summer 2012. He also directed GEFA and DCA to work closely with local governments to help them access the program, which includes conducting workshops for prospective applicants. (Continued from previous page) tion to LCFB Office Manager Susie Short. TIFT Tift County FB visited a kindergarten class to discuss the importance of agriculture and the jobs it creates. TCFB also held a farm tour for high school ag students of Bill Brim’s greenhouses and packing sheds where he grows and processes vegetables. Brim, right, discussed what it’s like being a farmer and jobs that are available in agriculture. WHITFIELD Whitfield County Farm Bureau held a dinner for local community leaders. Pictured from left, Dalton Mayor David Pennington and Whitfield County Commissioner Gordon Morehouse present WCFB President Willard Redwine with a FCW proclamation. Georgia Farm Bureau News

Southwest Ga. Ethanol exits bankruptcy

Southwest Georgia Ethanol LLC (SWGE) successfully emerged from its Chapter 11 restructuring on Dec. 31, 2011. SWGE, located in Mitchell County, will retain all of its 64 employees and its management team. During the Chapter 11 process, SWGE maintained full production levels and continues to produce ethanol. “SWGE will continue to offer competitive prices to our local corn farmers and provide quality distillers grains for local livestock. We appreciate our corn farmers, distillers grains customers and our vendors for working with us. We are also very proud of our employees’ dedication as we worked toward this day,” SWGE President Murray Campbell said. WE, THE FARMERS continued from page 4 residing with the relatives, but not in situations where the youth commutes to the relative’s farm on a daily or weekend basis. GFB maintains there is no reason for these limitations. Young people have worked on relatives’ farms for decades, learning valuable skills and ethics. On behalf of Georgia Farm Bureau, I submitted comments to the DOL’s Wage and Hour Division last November emphasizing that the DOL’s proposed child labor rule is inconsistent with Congressional intent. I stressed that GFB has neither an interest nor desire in putting young people at risk on a farm. Our farm children are our future, and while it is true that some jobs are not appropriate for youth, it must not be forgotten that age appropriate employment can be a positive experience. The original DOL proposal would also limit opportunities for students to learn safe farm work practices through programs like those offered by FFA. Agricultural educators are tasked with supervising students and delivering safety instructions, and they take this responsibility seriously. I suggested the proposed rules should be revised to allow students to continue learning through programs like FFA. After receiving comments from ag groups and legislators across the country similar to GFB’s, U.S. Labor Secretary Hilda Solis issued a statement Feb. 1 saying her agency would re-propose the portion of its proposed rule changes interpreting the parental exemption. The DOL says it will publish the re-proposed portion of the rule for public comment by early summer. We will continue to monitor the revisions the DOL makes to the rules and voice concerns if the changes don’t allow us as farmers to teach our children how to farm and care for the land and animals with which God has blessed us. Georgia Farm Bureau has priorities and programs of work that focus on what’s important to our farms and our members for each department within our organization. Goals and priorities are important, but can be useless without passion. Our passion for agriculture runs deep within our organization and it shows from our grassroots all the way to me, Bonnie, and the state board of directors. I am reminded of Moses’ plea to the Israelites as they prepared to enter into the Promised Land. He passionately taught them that God is the source of life, and we would have nothing if not for His blessings. As the Bible says in Deuteronomy 6:5 & 7, let us never forget to start every day by loving the Lord our God with all our heart, with all our souls, and with all our strength and to teach this to our children. January-February 2012/ 23

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Georgia Farm Bureau's News - January / February 2012  

Georgia Farm Bureau's News - January / February 2012

Georgia Farm Bureau's News - January / February 2012  

Georgia Farm Bureau's News - January / February 2012