Vol. 74 No. 3
FARM BUREAU NEWS
★ CELE EAU BR UR 75 YEAR ING S AT
ORGIA FARM GE B
The Voice of Georgia Farmers
2012 1937 e of Georgia Farmers The Voic
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contents june/july 2012
we, the farmers PAGE 4
legislative update PAGE 5
commodities update PAGE 10
young farmer update PAGE 15
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 email@example.com For questions regarding advertising contact Hurst and Associates, Inc., 1-800-397-8908 Visit the GFB Web site today! www.gfb.org Georgia Farm Bureau TV: www.youtube.com/georgiafarmmonitor “Like” us on Facebook: www.facebook.com/GeorgiaFarmBureau Follow us on Twitter: www.twitter.com/gafarmbureau
Georgia Farm Bureau News
Farm bill, estate tax hot topics of county presidents’ D.C. visit
County Farm Bureau leaders voiced their concerns about a number of issues, including the pending farm bill and estate tax reform, during the organization’s annual trip to Washington in April. PAGE 6
Rep. Graves visits Northwest Georgia farms U.S. Rep. Tom Graves (R-Dist. 9) visited farms and agribusinesses in his district during a tour in May. During the stop at Moore’s Seed Farm, pictured from right, Andrew Moore, Rep. Tom Graves, Joe Moore and GFB President Zippy Duvall discuss the Moores’ canola crop. PAGE 8
GFB names winners of 75-Day Membership Contest
One county in each of Georgia Farm Bureau’s 10 districts was recognized as the district winner in the organization’s 75-day membership contest held this spring. Competition is still underway for the GFB Membership Award. PAGE 12
Gov. Deal signs tax reform & metal theft bills
The Georgia General Assembly passed legislation addressing two of Georgia Farm Bureau’s legislative priority issues this year. Gov. Nathan Deal signed the bills into law in April. PAGE 14
County Ag Week celebrations
County Farm Bureaus across the state held Ag Day and Ag Week celebrations throughout the month of March as schedules allowed. Georgia’s agriculture community celebrated the state’s numerous commodities and products during the 9th Annual Georgia Ag Day event in Atlanta on March 13. PAGES 16-17
Campaign management seminar prepares future candidates
A campaign management seminar Georgia Farm Bureau held in March taught participants what and what not to do on the way to being elected. PAGE 19
Members go back to school at GFB Educational Leadership Conference
Georgia Farm Bureau members learned about Ag in the Classroom activities, activist groups working against agriculture and sharpened their communication skills during the annual GFB Educational Leadership Conference. PAGE 22
on the cover
(Photo by Cretia Ariail) Franklin County Farm Bureau member Cretia Ariail won an honorable mention in the 2011 Georgia Farm Bureau photo contest with this picture she shot of her husband, Mark, harvesting their wheat crop in June 2010. A total of 265 entries were submitted for the 2012 contest. Look for the winners to be posted on the GFB website http://www.gfb.org by late July. June-July 2012/ 3
we, the Photo by Jay Stone
farmers Zippy Duvall, GFB President
For the past 75 years Georgia Farm Bureau has worked to represent Georgia’s farmers. Our organization has stood the test of time because we have a triedand-true system that works. We advocate for farmers based on the issues and positions our members ratify through our annual policy development process. Regardless of the trials agriculture has faced in the last seven decades – whether it be changing farm policy, depressed commodity prices or weather disasters – Georgia Farm Bureau has held true to our purpose of being the voice of Georgia agriculture. We’ve taken our marching orders from our grassroots members and worked with Georgia state and federal officials to see that your concerns were heard and that you had a seat at the table when the laws and regulations that impact your farms were written. In recent months agriculture faced the challenge of protecting our right as parents to let our children work on our farms or participate in work programs offered by 4-H and FFA so they can learn the skills they need to become America’s next generation of farmers. Georgia Farm Bureau was one of many ag organizations that submitted comments to the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) opposing the proposed regulations, and I’m happy to report that the DOL has withdrawn its proposed regulations. Thanks to the opposition our farming community voiced to the proposed rules, the DOL has said that rather than pursuing rules restricting child farm labor, it will work with farm groups like Farm Bureau, FFA and 4-H to develop an education program aimed at preventing accidents involving young farm workers. Taxes have been an ongoing chal-
lenge that Georgia Farm Bureau has worked to help farmers with. Through the years, our organization has worked with state legislators to secure sales tax exemptions on some production inputs, like feed, seed, fertilizer, chemicals and equipment. This year, legislation passed by the General Assembly and signed by Gov. Deal not only maintains these existing sales tax exemptions but also expands them to include energy, equipment parts and more. The Georgia Jobs and Family Tax Reform Plan was based on recommendations the Special Council on Tax Reform & Fairness for Georgians made after holding a series of meetings across the state in 2010. Many Farm Bureau members spoke at these meetings regarding how vital the existing exemptions were to their farms and how the exemptions needed to be expanded in some cases. I’d like to thank all of our members who testified or talked to their state representatives about the tax issue. I’d also like to thank the tax council, and our state officials for recognizing the impact agriculture has on our state economy and supporting this tax reform legislation that will help Georgia farmers remain competitive with farmers in neighboring states who enjoy these same type of exemptions. Metal theft is another trial our farmers have been enduring for too long, but I’m hopeful legislation the Georgia General Assembly passed this year will reduce the frequency of the crime. Your state Farm Bureau leadership heard our members’ requests for help with this issue and so last summer we began meeting with law enforcement leaders and prosecutors and talking to utility companies See WE, THE FARMERS page 23
In the photo above, GFB President Zippy Duvall meets with Sen. Saxby Chambliss during the annual GFB Presidents’ Trip to Washington, D.C., in April. 4 / June-July 2012
FARM BUREAU NEWS
The Voice of Georgia Farmers
SUBSCRIPTION RATES Farm Bureau Members: Included in dues — $1 per year Non-Members — $15 per year To subscribe call 1-800-898-1911, ext. 5238. OFFICERS President ZIPPY DUVALL 1st Vice President/South Georgia Vice President GERALD LONG North Georgia Vice President BERNARD SIMS Middle Georgia Vice President ROBERT FOUNTAIN 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 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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Georgia Farm Bureau News
legislative update Jon Huffmaster, Legislative Director
Farmers have a stake in USDA surveys Americans historically distrust government, and farmers are particularly dubious of those who claim, “I’m from the government. I’m here to help.” When the subject of USDA crop reporting comes up among a group of farmers, negative comments sometimes arise. It is understandable that farmers might react unfavorably when called at home by a stranger asking personal business questions. Consumers raised such an outcry about telemarketers that Congress passed a law to restrict such calls. There is, however, a big difference in telemarketers and the agency personnel calling from the USDA National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS). Telemarketers are just attempting to make a sale. USDA NASS is collecting data, and farmers have a major stake in this enterprise. The purpose of testimony Farm Bureau submits to legislators or regulatory agencies is to compel decision makers to see an issue from a farmer’s perspective. The whole point of the testimony is to convince government officials that Farm Bureau’s position is the most fair and reasonable of the many positions being considered. The most compelling testimony will be factually based on unbiased data from an impeccable source. For agriculture, the USDA NASS is the undisputed data source. Whether it is Farm Bureau testifying before a legislative committee in Atlanta or Washington or the University of Georgia analyzing trends, the raw data comes from USDA NASS. GFB made great use of USDA NASS data during the 2010-2012 tax reform debate in Georgia’s General Assembly. Whenever the Special Council for Tax Reform & Fairness held meetings or public hearings, information was provided that was gleaned from the USDA NASS databases. Since the Council’s report formed the basis for the tax reform bill that eventuGeorgia Farm Bureau News
ally became law, the USDA NASS played a crucial role in being the source for unbiased data about agriculture. The USDA NASS data illustrated the importance of agriculture to Georgia’s economy, and impacted the debate. Agribusinesses also use the information in the USDA NASS reports, which has long been a complaint of farmers. Some farmers charge that prices paid to farmers drop substantially when livestock and commodity buyers see a report that shows a larger than anticipated inventory. The agency’s report “Annual Cattle Price Reactions to Cattle on Feed Releases,” shows that from 2001-2011, there were 65 occasions when the price of cattle increased after the release of the report and 67 occasions when the price of cattle decreased after the release of the report. The report shows that cattle prices are just as likely to increase due to the report as they are to decrease. Twelve “Cattle on Feed” reports were issued in 2011. The price of cattle declined the week after the release on five occasions; the price of cattle increased after seven of the monthly reports. Overall, the price of cattle increased by a net of $8.48 during the weeks after the reports were released in 2011. A similar table exists for “Wheat Price Changes Following Crop Production Reports: 1987-2011.” The table compares the price of wheat in the week following the release of the crop report. The results show that wheat prices fell during 13 years, rose during 11 years, and made no difference in one year. Again, the tables show no statistically significant effect on prices attributable to the release of the report. Farmers are understandably concerned about privacy. USDA NASS is prohibited from using the information they collect except in aggregate form. The purpose of the reports is to provide raw
data so that farmers, agribusinesses and governments can make sound decisions. Time is a valuable commodity, and sometimes farmers just run short of it. USDA NASS surveys are often overlooked simply because farmers cannot find the time. The importance of the data to farmers, however, is also valuable. The bottom line is that without strong data from a reputable source, many of the arguments Farm Bureau presents to government officials on behalf of farmers would be considered speculation by a special interest group. However, when Farm Bureau’s points are backed by solid, unbiased data from a government source, there is greater confidence in our position. The USDA NASS provides government with a source of valuable information about agriculture, and farmers really do have a stake in the data collection process. In late December, the USDA will mail the 2012 Census of Agriculture to millions of U.S. farmers. The sign-up period for the Census of Agriculture ends July 1 and is especially important for those involved in agriculture who did not realize they qualify as a farm or have not previously participated in a census. A farm is defined as any place that produced and sold, or normally would have sold, $1,000 or more of agricultural products during the census year (2012). Visit http://www.agcensus.usda.gov to sign up to be counted. The data provided by the ag census, conducted every five years, helps determine how federal resources are used to support agriculture. All USDA NASS reports are available electronically, at no cost, on the NASS web site at http://www.nass.usda.gov. For more information on NASS surveys and reports, call the NASS Agricultural Statistics Hotline at 800-727-9540 or email firstname.lastname@example.org Jon Huffmaster is director of the GFB Legislative Department. June-July 2012/ 5
Photo by Jay Stone
Rep. Austin Scott (R-8th Dist.; white shirt in front of desk) talked with GFB county leaders about estate tax reform, immigration, the farm bill and other topics during the group’s visit to Washington. Scott serves on the House Agriculture Committee.
Farm bill, estate tax hot topics during county presidents’ D.C. visit By Jay Stone __________________________________________________________________________
group of 110 Georgia county Farm Bureau leaders and GFB staff met with Georgia’s congressional delegation on April 19 in Washington, D.C, asking for support on legislation relating to issues important to the organization - the 2012 farm bill, Clean Water Act, federal estate tax reform and farm labor. During a breakfast meeting, Sens. Johnny Isakson and Saxby Chambliss each spoke to the GFB group. Isakson noted that a number of forced changes in the U.S. tax code set to take place on Jan. 1, 2013, make the post-election period in 2012 “the most threatening and potentially the most exciting seven weeks in the history of American government.” Isakson noted that the federal estate tax is scheduled to revert to a $1 million exemption with a 55 percent top rate on 6 / June-July 2012
Jan. 1, and the marginal tax rates established in 2003 will all go away. “I hope we’ll take the opportunity with the crisis we’re going to have with all these things expiring and all the rates going up by having true comprehensive tax reform,” Isakson said. “It’s been 26 years since the U.S. looked at the tax code, put it on the table, and did away with the deductions and exemptions that didn’t work and attempted to lower the marginal rates. Now you have nothing but uncertainty, and that uncertainty causes people to sit on their capital, sit on their investment, and it keeps our economy very sluggish.” Chambliss gave a farm bill update, noting the challenges posed not only by the budget but also by the World Trade Organization ruling in the long-standing U.S.-Brazil cotton dispute.
“There are going to be major changes, particularly in cotton,” Chambliss said. “Cotton’s going to see a bigger change than any other program simply because we want to make sure we are WTO compliant.” Chambliss also touched on the other GFB priority issues. He said the immigration issue was unlikely to be addressed in the 2012 presidential campaign. Chambliss was asked about the importance of the deepening project for the Port of Savannah. “Every single one of Georgia’s 159 counties has an economic gain because of the port at Savannah,” he said. “It’s important to every Georgian that we get that job done.” American Farm Bureau Federation President Bob Stallman gave a brief overview of activities of the U.S. Farmers and Ranchers Alliance (USFRA), a coalition of national agricultural groups that just finished its first full year of existence. “There’s a whole cadre of people out there making a living trashing what we do,” said Stallman, who is also president of the USFRA. “We agreed to focus on one thing … to develop this dialogue with the consumers, so consumers can directly relate to farmers and ranchers, and they don’t have these other people making up stuff and telling them what they ought to be thinking.” AFBF Senior Director of Regulatory Relations Don Parrish discussed efforts by the EPA and the Obama Administration to remove the term “navigable” from the Clean Water Act. “They’re trying to cut corners and do what Congress wouldn’t do, which is write the term ‘navigable’ out of the Clean Water Act,” said Parrish, who urged GFB members to express support for legislation that would prevent this from happening. During the visits with Georgia’s Congressional delegates, GFB members expressed concern about federal estate taxes. “I hope that we’re able to keep the $5 million exemption,” said Rep. Austin Scott (R-8th Dist.) “I don’t want to hold out for a complete repeal. I think that’s a mistake. I think a dream bill for us would be if we can get a $10 million Georgia Farm Bureau News
Photo courtesy Rep. Scott’s office
exemption. If we can hold what we’ve got right now, it’s significantly better at the $5 million level than going back to the $1 million level.” On April 20, Kay Johnson Smith of the Animal Agriculture Alliance spoke at a breakfast meeting and stressed the importance of educating consumers and media about the care taken for farm animals. Johnson Smith gave an overview of a group of 25 animal rights organizations that have combined annual budgets of more than $400 million per year and use it to attack animal agriculture. “They either don’t believe we have the right to raise animals for food and fiber or they take issue with modern agriculture,” Johnson Smith said. “They think we should go back and continue farming the way that our great-grandparents did. We’ve evolved to the systems, the housing systems and the types of farms today because it’s better for the animals. We’ve learned how to protect them, how to prevent disease, how to make them safer. But the activist groups don’t feel that the systems we use today are actually doing that, and they’d like to see us [revert] back to the 1800s.” Georgia Farm Bureau News
Photo by Jay Stone
Photo by Jay Stone
Sen. Johnny Isakson gave an overview of changes to the U.S. tax code set to go into effect Jan. 1, 2013, unless Congress takes action. Among the changes is that the federal estate tax will revert to a $1 million exemption, which threatens the ability of farmers to pass their farms along to the next generation.
Rep. David Scott (D-13th Dist, fourth from left) visited with, from left, Henry County Farm Bureau President Ross McQueen, GFB Young Farmer Chair Jake Carter, Catoosa County Farm Bureau member Janet Sims, Henry County Farm Bureau Director Andy Garland, Douglas County Farm Bureau President Travis Henry, GFB North Georgia Vice President Bernard Sims and GFB Assistant Legislative Director Jeffrey Harvey.
Rep. John Lewis (D-5th Dist., right) meets with, from left, Cherokee County Farm Bureau President William Grizzle, GFB 1st Vice President Gerald Long, Douglas County Farm Bureau President Travis Henry and GFB 7th District Field Representative Todd Faircloth.
Rep. Paul Broun (R-10th Dist., second from left) chats with GFB county leaders. June-July 2012/ 7
Rep. Graves visits Northwest Georgia farms By Jennifer Whittaker ___________________________________
8 / June-July 2012
Photo by Jennifer Whittaker
.S. Rep. Tom Graves (R-Dist. 9) visited the farms of Gordon County Farm Bureau members Larry Thomason and Joe and Andrew Moore during his agriculture tour of Northwest Georgia on May 1. Georgia Farm Bureau assisted Graves in arranging the tour of farms and agribusinesses in his district. During the visit to his egg farm, Thomason voiced his concern about H.R. 3798, legislation introduced in the U.S. House this winter that would mandate the size of cages in which egg producers must house their hens. The bill implements an agreement reached last summer between the United Egg Producers and Humane Society of the United States. “I think this agreement would put every small producer out of business. Europe has had it for a while and they have an egg shortage and consumers pay more for eggs. I think larger producers are forced to say they approve the agreement, but I don’t think they really do,” Thomason said. “If we don’t treat these birds well they aren’t going to lay eggs. We handle them humanely. This is how we make our living so we can’t abuse these animals.” On May 24, Sen. Dianne Feinstein (DCalif.) introduced S. 3239, companion legislation to H.R. 3798, in the U.S. Senate. As we went to press, Feinstein’s bill had been offered as an amendment to the farm bill on the Senate floor. GFB President Zippy Duvall has sent letters to members of Georgia’s congressional delegation asking Georgia’s representatives and senators to oppose both bills. “If Washington succeeds in regulating layer hen cages it will not be long before similar arguments are made for all animal enclosures. Georgia Farm Bureau members fear this is just the first step toward complete federal regulation of all livestock production,” Duvall said. “We appreciate Rep. Graves taking the time to visit with farmers in his district to hear their concern about this and other issues.” During the stop at Moore’s Seed Farm, Joe Moore and his son, Andrew, described the three-generation family farm that in-
Pictured from right, Georgia Agriculture Commissioner Gary Black, Georgia Farm Bureau President Zippy Duvall, GFB 1st District Field Rep. Roby Murray and U.S. Rep. Tom Graves listen to Gordon County egg farmer Larry Thomason explain his egg-laying operation along with Georgia Cattlemen’s Executive Vice President Josh White. Thomason voiced his concerns about legislation introduced in the U.S. Congress that would mandate the size cages in which egg producers must house their hens.
cludes Joe’s father and brother. The Moores discussed the grain crops they grow and explained the potential for canola production in Georgia. The Moore family operates Resaca Sun Products LLC, which produces kosher, non-GMO, Expeller® pressed, foodgrade canola for commercial refineries and canola meals for dairy, beef and chicken farmers. Currently, farmers from Georgia, Tennessee, Alabama and Kentucky grow 100 percent of the feedstock the company processes. The Moores also produce canola oil and high oleic sunflower oil from their canola and sunflower crops. Andrew expressed frustration with government regulations that hinder farmers when they try to start new value-added businesses. “Regulations hinder us from expanding our business because it takes so much money to follow the regulations, and we don’t have time to research them to know what we’re supposed to do,” Andrew said. “I propose that government agencies have an educational arm to teach small businesses about the regulations they need to follow and help us learn how to follow the regulations and
then regulate us. The Georgia Department of Agriculture has been really good about educating us and helping us expand.” “This has been an amazing day to see the diversity of agriculture in Northwest Georgia,” Graves said. “The common thread we heard is government is in the way. When government is preventing farmers from doing what they need to do to get food onto the tables of Americans then government has gone too far.” In regards to the pending farm bill, Graves, who serves on the House Appropriations Committee and its Sub-Committee on Agriculture, Rural Development and the Food and Drug Administration, said limited federal funds will require prioritization of how farm bill funds are spent. “There’s going to be a lot of questioning and testing to be sure money is going into the right programs,” Graves said. Afternoon stops on the tour included the Tyson feed mill where Graves saw how feed is produced for Tyson chicken growers. During the last stop at the UGA Northwest Georgia Research and Education Center, Graves learned how research has increased farm profits. Georgia Farm Bureau News
GFB 4th District Director William Hutchins dies Georgia Farm Bureau 4th District Director William Hutchins died May 12 from a lung-related condition. He was 63. “Our hearts and prayers go out to William’s family,” said Georgia Farm Bureau President Zippy Duvall. “This is a profound loss. William was a dedicated member of Georgia Farm Bureau and a strong advocate for agriculture in general. He will be sorely missed.” A graduate of the University of Georgia with a degree in animal science, Hutchins raised cattle on his family’s farm in Winder. Hutchins served on the Barrow County Farm Bureau Board of Directors for more than 30 years, including two terms as president. He served on the GFB Commodity Advisory Committees for cattle and swine and served on the American Farm Bureau Swine Advisory Committee. He was also a member of the GFB Long Range Planning Committee and Policy Development Committee.
In addition to his Farm Bureau leadership, Hutchins served on the Southern States Board of Directors and was a past director of the Barrow County Cattlemen’s Association. Hutchins is survived by his parents, Dorsey and Louise Hutchins, Hutchins brothers Dorsey Hutchins Jr. and Joe Hutchins, sisterin-law Cindy Hutchins, and several nieces and nephews. Hutchins was a member of Midway Methodist Church. His family has requested memorial contributions be made to the Midway United Methodist Church Building Fund, P.O. Box 719, Auburn, GA 30011.
Agroforestry & Wildlife Field Day This event, scheduled for Sept. 20 at the UGA Campus in Griffin from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m., will provide information on ways land value can be enhanced. More than 25 topics will be showcased, including wildlife opening management; pond management; wild turkey, dove and quail management; selling and marketing timber; prescribed burning, cost-sharing assistance programs, GPS/ GIS use in managing land and invasive insects, disease and plants. This event is sponsored by UGA, Abraham Baldwin Agricultural College, Fort Valley State University, the Georgia Department of Natural Resources, and the NRCS. Registration is $25 before Sept. 3 and $35 after. Fee includes lunch. For more information, visit http://www. caes.uga.edu/events/awfd/index.html.
Take advantage of special member rates on new or used motorcycles, boats, all terrain and recreational vehicles.
• Up to 100% financing* • Same low rate for new and used* • Flexible payment terms up to 72 months For details, contact your Farm Bureau agent or visit farmbureaubank.com.
* Existing Farm Bureau Bank recreational vehicles excluded from this offer. Rates and financing are limited to vehicle models 2003 and newer and subject to change without notice. All loans are subject to credit approval, verification, and collateral evaluation. The minimum loan amount is $5,000. Non-member rates may be 1-3% higher than posted rates. Loans for RVs, motorcycles, trailers, ATVs, watercraft and commercial vehicles may be 0.50% higher than vehicle loan rates. This offer if not available in all states and rates and terms are subject to change without notice. Farm Bureau Bank does not finance totaled, rebuilt or salvaged vehicles. Banking services provided by Farm Bureau Bank, FSB.
Georgia Farm Bureau News
June-July 2012/ 9
commodities/marketing update don mcgough
10 / June-July 2012
Collapse Disorder (CCD). His research has found that there is no one cause of CCD. Instead, several factors working together have caused the bee population to decline. The GFB Dairy Advisory Committee in March met at Rodger’s Dairy, which has the highest herd milking average in Georgia. Committee member Mark Rodgers gave the committee a tour of his farm in McDuffie County and explained how he uses computer technology to monitor his herd for optimum production. He uses computers to keep records on each cow
and adjust their feed and care as needed to keep the cows healthy and maximize milk production. In April, the GFB Pecan Advisory Committee toured the UGA breeding research plots in Tifton being done by Dr. Lenny Wells and Dr. Patrick Connor to develop new varieties that are more disease resistant while maintaining nut quality. Due to the length of time involved in growing pecans, new cultivar development is a slow process. Dr. Connor and (Continued on next page)
Photo by Don McGough
eorgia is agriculturally diverse, and Georgia Farm Bureau relies on our commodity advisory committees to address the important issues facing the 20 major commodities grown in Georgia. The GFB Commodity Committees provide much-needed input regarding their specific commodities and help shape Georgia Farm Bureau policy. Georgia Farm Bureau recognizes 20 different commodities with committees consisting entirely of producers. These farmers have a direct link to the GFB policy development process. All of the committees meet individually from late winter through spring and again during GFB’s annual commodity conference. As needed, these committees hold their spring meetings in different locations across Georgia to look at specific issues affecting their commodity. In late February the GFB Feedgrain and Soybean Committees held a joint meeting at the Tifton Seed Laboratory. Along with the individual committee meetings, the group toured the grain grading lab, germination lab and pesticide lab. The tour of the labs offered the committee members a chance to see where their grain is tested and gave them a chance to ask questions about how things are run in each lab. The lab employees willingly addressed the farmers’ concerns. One issue discussed became a priority issue for the Feedgrain Committee, which is to explore the feasibility of the lab offering a falling number test for wheat to measure sprout damage, which can affect flour quality. For the third consecutive year, the Georgia Farm Bureau Honeybee Advisory Committee met at the UGA Honeybee Lab in Watkinsville in March. Georgia Farm Bureau’s Honeybee Committee enjoys an outstanding relationship with Dr. Keith Delaplane and Lab/Apiary Manager Jennifer Berry. Dr. Delaplane gave the Committee a research update about the multistate/multi-institution research project he is leading to determine the cause of Colony
Members of the GFB Dairy Committee toured committee member Mark Rodgers’ farm in March. Pictured from left are Jimmy Franks, Rodgers, Committee Chairman Judd Chambers, Bud Butcher, S.J. Saffold Jr., Kenneth Murphy and GFB 2nd District Director Randy Ruff.
Photo by Jesse Patrick
GFB Commodity Committees play an important role
Members of the GFB Feedgrain and Soybean Committees toured the Georgia Department of Agriculture Seed Lab in Tifton in February. Georgia Farm Bureau News
(Continued from previous page) other members of the pecan team work hard to provide pecan growers with better varieties adapted to Georgia’s disease and insect complex. In May, the GFB Forestry Advisory Committee toured Georgia Biomass in Waycross, which is the largest wood pellet mill in the world. The $200 million facility uses 260 truckloads of pine trees per day to make pellets. These pellets are shipped to Savannah and loaded on ships bound for Europe. Most of Europe is under a mandate to use renewable fuels to generate a minimum of 25 percent of its electricity needs. This is a huge market for Georgia pine trees and likely will continue to grow as we seek other energy sources besides petroleum. If you are a farmer and member of Georgia Farm Bureau, you have the opportunity to be a member of a GFB Commodity Advisory Committee. Contact your county office for more details on becoming more involved with Georgia’s largest farm organization.
Duvall speaks at farm bill forum
GFB President Zippy Duvall shared Georgia Farm Bureau’s concerns about the pending farm bill during a forum Sen. Saxby Chambliss hosted in Jesup, March 16. Sen. Chambliss explained that the farm bill Congress is currently working on will not include direct payments due to the federal budget crisis. “Agriculture is enjoying good prices now, but we will see low prices again and that’s why farmers need some type of a safety net that works for our farmers because we can’t afford to let other countries feed our country,” GFB PresiZippy Duvall dent Zippy Duvall said at the Jesup meeting. As we went to press, the Senate was beginning to debate the Senate Agriculture Committee’s farm bill proposal, which would replace direct and countercyclical payments with revenue programs tied to crop insurance. “I was not able to support the committee bill due to the severe inequities the bill created between regions and crops. While I support approving a new farm bill this year in advance of the expiration of the current bill, I cannot support the unbalanced policy brought before the committee today that attempts to fit most crops into a one-size-fits-all program,” Chambliss said in a release after the Senate Agriculture Committee voted on the proposal April 26. Georgia Farm Bureau will continue to monitor the bill’s progress this summer and voice the concerns of Georgia farmers.
FSA revises crop acreage reporting dates Several crops planted in Georgia are subject to new crop reporting dates established through a combined effort between the USDA’s Farm Service Agency (FSA) and Risk Management Agency (RMA). Effective July 1, there are more deadline dates to specific fruit and vegetable crops than in prior years. The reporting deadlines for fruits and vegetables apply regardless of whether a farmer has the crop covered under a crop insurance plan. Failure to report crop acreage may make producers ineligible for other FSA programs in which they are enrolled. The deadlines with the most significant changes are for small grains, forage crops and tobacco. The acreage reporting deadline for winter-seeded small grains was moved from March 1 to January 15. The reporting date for grass and forage crops enrolled in the Non-insured Crop Disaster Assistance Program (NAP) was moved to Jan. 15 from March 1 to coincide with small grain acreage reports. The deadline for flue-cured tobacco was moved from May 1 to May 15. The other reporting dates are: Jan. 2 honey (producers with NAP coverage); Jan. Georgia Farm Bureau News
15 - apples, blueberries, peaches, barley, canola, oats, rye, wheat and other fall-seeded small grains, as well as grazing and forage crops; March 15 - cabbage planted between Oct. 1 and Feb. 20, onions planted between Oct. 21 and Feb. 1 and pecans; May 15 - flue-cured tobacco, fresh market sweet corn planted between Aug. 26 and May 15, fresh market tomatoes planted between Aug. 16 and April 5; July 16 - cabbage planted between Feb. 21 and May 31, corn, cotton, grain, sorghum, peanuts, soybeans and other crops planted by this date and not already reported; Aug. 15 - cabbage planted between June 1 and July 15, fresh market tomatoes planted between July 1 and Aug. 15; Sept. 15 - fresh market sweet corn planted between July 15 and Aug. 25; Oct. 15 - cabbage planted between July 16 and Sept. 30. Nov. 15 - apiculture (not NAP/ honey coverage) and pasture, range and forage (PRF - not NAP-covered grazing and forage). Dec. 15 – onions planted between Sept. 20 to Oct. 20. Contact your local FSA office for more information on the revised crop acreage reporting deadlines and to obtain a copy of the new crop reporting deadlines.
Upcoming Deadlines for FSA Programs
Below are upcoming enrollment deadlines for programs administered by the Farm Service Agency: July 16 All other crops & land uses planted by July 16, 2012 Note that for crops with NAP coverage, the final date to report the acreage is 15 days prior to the onset of harvest or grazing. Crops with NAP coverage will usually have a NAP crop reporting date earlier than the regularly established reporting dates for crops without NAP coverage. Aug. 1 Farm Reconstitutions (changes) for 2012 crop year Sept. 30 Milk Income Loss Contract (MILC) Ongoing Complete 2012 form CCC931, Average Adjusted Income Certification & Consent to Disclose Tax Information
June-July 2012/ 11
GFB names winners of 75-Day Membership Contest By Mike Copeland ___________________________________
Georgia Farm Bureau held a membership contest this spring among all 158 county Farm Bureaus to celebrate its 75th anniversary. This contest was held for 75 days in honor of our organization’s 75th anniversary. The contest period ran from Feb. 15 through April 30. One county in each of Georgia Farm Bureau’s 10 districts was recognized as the district winner. The county with the largest percentage increase in membership for the contest period was the district winner. The winning county employees were recognized with an e-reader and each county president received two $75 gift cards. The district winners are: District 1 Bartow County Dean Bagwell, president District 2 Hart County Larry Haley, president
be our lifeblood.” Although the winners of our 75-Day Membership Contest have been named, there’s still a chance for your county to win the 2012 GFB Membership Award. This new award will recognize those counties with the most effective membership programs and activities for the 2012 membership year. Up to three county Farm Bureaus – one from each of GFB’s membership divisions - may receive this award for conducting an outstanding membership campaign throughout the year. County recognitions will be made this fall at district annual meetings. The winning counties will each receive a deluxe portable smoker grill. We need all Farm Bureau members to support our efforts to grow our membership. If you have family or friends who are
not members, please ask them to join. Although we offer great insurance products, it’s important that potential members understand they do not have to have GFB insurance to be a Farm Bureau member. For only $25, our members gain access to great member services and discount programs that can save them much more than the cost of their membership dues. We need new members joining our cause to promote America’s safe and plentiful food supply and the efforts farmers are making to protect the environment and to defend private property rights. Invite your friends and neighbors to join today! Ask them to stop by their county Farm Bureau office or visit http://www. gfb.org for more details. Mike Copeland is director of the GFB Field Services Department.
Georgia National Guard’s Agribusiness Development Team returns
District 3 Polk County James Casey, president District 4 Columbia County Pete Allen, president District 5 Troup County Harrell Landreth, president District 6 Washington County Gerald Andrews, president District 7 Toombs County R.T. Stanley Jr., president District 8 Quitman County Walter Gary, president
District 10 Irwin County Gary Paulk, president The district competition among the counties was strong. County volunteer leaders, employees and insurance agents combined their efforts to help grow and retain membership. When asked about the recent membership competition, Georgia President Zippy Duvall said, “I am proud of all the efforts put forth by our county leaders and staff to strengthen our membership. We are first and foremost a membership organization and membership will always 12 / June-July 2012
Photo by 1st Lt. William Carraway
District 9 Miller County Ladon Calhoun, president
Staff Sgt. Jeffrey DeLoach and Sgt. 1st Class James Horne Jr., both of Ludowici, were among the 58 soldiers of the Georgia Army National Guard’s Agribusiness Development Team 1 (ADT-1) who returned home in April after a yearlong tour in Afghanistan. The team worked with Afghan farmers to improve agricultural practices and provide a better quality of life for the Afghan people. During their deployment, ADT-1 completed 192 ground missions and 92 air missions without a single casualty. Members of the Georgia National Guard’s 265th Regional Support Group, headquartered in Metter, are now serving on the ADT-2 that assumed command of the Afghanistan agriculture mission in April. Georgia Farm Bureau News
GFB scholarship recipients named GeorgAnne Bloodworth of Crawford County, Newton Gilman of Jackson County and Garrett Whitworth of Madison County have been awarded the top Georgia Farm Bureau 2012 Scholarships for Agriculture, valued at $3,000 each. The scholarships are intended to recognize and assist deserving young people who are pursuing college degrees in agricultural and environmental sciences, family and consumer sciences or related agricultural fields. Eligibility is limited to students who plan to enroll in a unit of the University System of Georgia or Berry College for the 2012-2013 academic year. “I’m optimistic about the future of Georgia agriculture based on the quality of applicants we received for our annual scholarship program. Our judges had a tough time selecting the top ten finalists and top three scholarship recipients from the outstanding applications we received,” said GFB President Zippy Duvall. “These students are the future movers and shakers in our agriculture community, and Georgia Farm Bureau is glad to help them prepare for this role by offering these scholarships.” Whitworth plans to attend Abraham Baldwin Agricultural College (ABAC) and study agricultural education, while Gilman anticipates studying poultry science and avian biology at ABAC. Bloodworth plans to study veterinary medicine at the University of Georgia. In addition to the three top awards, seven other students were
awarded $750 each. The other scholarship finalists were Aaron Bruce of Lanier County, Meridith Franks of Burke County, Brittney Gunter of Hall County, Garrett Hibbs of Oconee County, Chris Kimbrell of Pierce County, Morgan Sumners of Lee County and Emily Tyus of Bleckley County.
SUNBELT EXPO FIELD DAY
July 12 • Sunbelt Agricultural Expo, Spence Field Moultrie This preview for the Sunbelt Expo gives farmers a chance to see the latest research on seed varieties, chemical applications, irrigation technology and precision ag technology. A biscuit breakfast reception with Agriculture Commissioner Gary Black and Georgia Farm Bureau President Zippy Duvall begins at 7:15 a.m. Trams depart starting at 8:30 a.m. and a complimentary lunch begins at 12:15 p.m. Register before 8:15 a.m. to win a $100 early bird cash prize. Every attendee receives an Expo cap. For more information, call 229-985-1968 or visit http://www.sunbeltexpo.com.
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
*Southern Farm Bureau Life Insurance Co., Jackson, MS
June-July 2012/ 13
On April 16 Gov. Nathan Deal, seated, signed legislation designed to crack down on metal theft. Georgia General Assembly members and representatives of the Georgia EMCs, AT&T and the auto industry joined Deal for the signing ceremony. Among those attending the event were Georgia Farm Bureau Assistant Legislative Director Jeffrey Harvey, far left; Rep. Buzz Brockway, fourth from left; Rep. Jason Shaw, fifth from left; Sen. Renee Unterman, fifth from right; and Rep. Matt Ramsey, third from right.
Gov. Deal signs tax reform & metal theft bills Georgia farmers will pay less in sales taxes and may suffer fewer metal thefts thanks to legislation the Georgia General Assembly passed this session and Gov. Nathan Deal signed in April. On April 19, Gov. Nathan Deal signed into law the Georgia Jobs and Family Tax Reform Plan, which maintains existing agricultural sales tax exemptions on feed, seed, fertilizer, chemicals and equipment and expands them to include energy, equipment parts, trailers, crop dusters and more. To qualify for the agricultural sales tax exemptions, a farmer must produce at least $2,500 worth of agricultural products per year, provide $2,500 worth of agricultural services or have long-term agricultural products with the reasonable potential to produce $2,500 annually. The Georgia Department of Agriculture will determine who qualifies as an ag producer and issue a wallet-sized card to entitle farmers to the sales tax exemptions. The ag sales tax exemptions go into effect on Jan. 1, 2013. The law, also known as HB 386, passed the House by a 155-9 vote and the Senate by a 54-0 vote. The bill also eliminates sales taxes and annual ad valorem taxes on vehicles. In their place, the bill establishes a one-time seven percent title fee to be paid at the time of the vehicle purchase. The bill also lowers personal income taxes by increasing the marriage deduction from $5,400 to $7,400. The level of tax-exempt income for retir14 / June-July 2012
ees ages 65 and older remains at $65,000 ($130,000 for couples). “House Bill 386 is a major victory for Georgia agriculture. It’s the culmination of work that began back in 2010 when our members testified at tax forums across the state regarding how the loss of sales tax exemptions would impact their operations,” said Georgia Farm Bureau President Zippy Duvall. “We were worried that we might lose our existing exemptions but the General Assembly realized the economic importance of agriculture to the state’s economy and actually voted to expand the exemptions to include energy, equipment parts, trailers and more.” The Georgia Department of Audits and Accounts has estimated that Georgia farmers will pay $72 million less in sales taxes on farm input materials over the next two and a half years than they currently pay. HB 386 was based on recommendations from the Special Council on Tax Reform and Fairness for Georgians, which was created under HB 1405 in 2010. The council, which was an 11-member body consisting of economists and business leaders from around the state, included McDuffie County Farm Bureau Vice President Skeetter McCorkle. The council held forums across the state in 2010 to get input on Georgia’s tax code, and Farm Bureau members spoke at each of the forums to explain why farmers need sales tax exemptions on their produc-
tion inputs. GFB endorsed the recommendations the council made in January 2011 to the Special Joint Committee on Georgia Revenue Structure, a 12-member committee comprised of six members from both chambers of the state legislature. The Special Joint Committee was established by HB 1405 and was co-chaired by Rep. Mickey Channell (R-Greensboro) and Sen. Bill Heath (R-Bremen).
Metal theft legislation signed
On April 16, Gov. Deal signed House Bill 872 which contains a number of measures intended to combat the ongoing problem of metal theft. “Metal theft has become a huge problem for farmers and for Georgians in all walks of life,” said Duvall. “Securing legislation to fight metal theft was a priority issue for us this year. We’re happy the legislature answered our requests for help, and hopefully the tools contained in this law will reduce the frequency and impact of metal theft.” The bill was sponsored by Rep. Jason Shaw (R-Lakeland) and contained a number of provisions from Senate Bill 321, sponsored by Sen. Renee Unterman (RBuford). HB 872 provides law enforcement with new tools to help catch metal thieves and requires recyclers to obtain a permit from their local sheriff. The law establishes new documentation requirements that should See LEGISLATION page 23 Georgia Farm Bureau News
young farmer update Jed Evans, Young Farmer Coordinator
The annual FFA Discussion Meet sponsored by the Georgia Farm Bureau Young Farmer Committee was held April 27 at the Macon Centreplex. Twelve area winners from around Georgia competed in the state competition. Two preliminary rounds were held to determine the Final Four. The Final Four contestants were: Timothy Hubbard, Gordon Central High School; GeorgAnne Bloodworth, Crawford County High School; Andy Paul, Oglethorpe County High School and Ethan Perkins, Southeast Bulloch High School. Timothy Hubbard was the 2012 FFA Discussion Meet winner. Hubbard is a six-year FFA member who has a passion for livestock judging. As the state winner, Hubbard received a $300 cash award. The other three finalists received $150. All area winners and finalists received $50 from Georgia Farm Bureau.
Photo by Donna Rocker
GFB sponsors FFA Discussion Meet
Georgia Farm Bureau Young Farmer Committee Chairman Jake Carter, center, congratulates the Final Four contestants of the annual FFA Discussion Meet sponsored by Georgia Farm Bureau. Pictured from left are GeorgAnne Bloodworth, winner Timothy Hubbard, Andy Paul and Ethan Perkins.
County Farm Bureaus start YF programs
Baker County Young Farmers
Bulloch County Young Farmers Georgia Farm Bureau News
This spring the Baker and Bulloch County Farm Bureaus started new Young Farmer Committees. The Baker County Young Farmers held their first meeting March 6 at the Baker County office. The group discussed the importance of having a young farmer program and shared information concerning the problems they face as young farmers. The group of 10 enjoyed getting to know each other during a pizza dinner. Plans were made for a second meeting in mid-summer. “We were very pleased with our first turnout,” said Baker County Farm Bureau Young Farmer Committee Chairman Preston Odom. Bulloch County Farm Bureau held its Young Farmer meeting on March 22 at a local restaurant. John Brett with Trimble Ag Technologies spoke to the group of 25 young farmers about precision agriculture. Committee Chairman David Cromley and Co-Chairman Ryne Brannen discussed ideas they have for the committee. “We’ve got a good group of young farmers coming back to the farm in this area, so we’re trying to get these people plugged into Farm Bureau and let them see the importance of having a grassroots organization that gives farmers a voice in Atlanta and D.C.,” said Cromley. “It’s really important to the future of agriculture to have this young generation coming back to the farm.” If your county Farm Bureau is interested in starting a Young Farmer program please contact Jed Evans at 478-474-0679, ext. 5230. June-July 2012/ 15
County Farm Bureaus celebrate Ag Week County Farm Bureaus across the state held Ag Day and Ag Week celebrations throughout the month of March as schedules allowed. Here’s a sampling of the activities county Farm Bureaus did to educate their communities about Georgia agriculture.
right, GCFB President Darrell Jones, Gilmer County FFA members and GCFB Secretary Linda Evans and GCFB Office Manager Candra Frady pose with the Ag Week banner that greeted the students when they arrived at the event.
BACON Bacon County Farm Bureau (BCFB) sponsored agriculture classes at Appling Christian Academy. BCFB volunteer Janie Tyre visited the kindergarten through fifthgrade classes. Tyre, pictured with ACA second and thirdgrade students, discussed how farmers grow crops from seeds using the parable of the mustard seed. Each student planted a mustard tree seed in a cup of soil so they could watch it grow. The students also made bird feeders using pinecones, Georgia peanut butter and birdseed.
HARALSON COUNTY Haralson County Farm Bureau set up a Georgia Ag table at the Georgia Welcome Center on I-20 at the Georgia-Alabama line for the week of March 12-19. The display promoted commodities grown in Georgia and provided brochures featuring Vidalia onions, beef, cotton, poultry, eggs, forestry and peanuts. HCFB Office Manager Kim Hindmon is pictured handing out packs of peanuts.
FRANKLIN & HART COUNTIES The Franklin and Hart County Farm Bureaus teamed up to celebrate National Ag Day at the Georgia Welcome Center on I-85 at the South Carolina border. More than 200 people from 22 states and two foreign countries visited the Ag Day display, which showcased cotton, peanuts, beef cattle, pecans, poultry and blueberries. GreenSouth Equipment in Carnesville provided modern John Deere tractors for the display and Farm Bureau members displayed their antique Ford and John Deere tractors. Pictured from left, FCFB Vice President Brannon Wilkinson and FCFB member Wayne Bowers join HCFB Director Bobby McLane and HCFB President Larry Haley in greeting visitors at the welcome center. GILMER COUNTY Gilmer County Farm Bureau joined the Gilmer County FFA in co-sponsoring an Ag Day for local fifth-grade students at the Gilmer County FFA barn. More than 300 students rotated through numerous stations where they learned about livestock, farm equipment and farm safety. Pictured from 16 / June-July 2012
WILKES COUNTY Wilkes County Farm Bureau (WCFB) celebrated Ag Week by presenting a class on beef to more than 100 fifth-graders at Washington-Wilkes Elementary School. WCFB Office Manager JoAnn Wheatley and WCFB Women’s Committee Chairman Amelia Wheatley taught the class during which they discussed the variety of products beef cattle provide and shared beef production statistics for the county and state. The students also watched GFB’s “Without Farmers, Georgia Can’t Grow” video. WCFB gave each student a Farm Bureau commodity placemat and beef pencils, stickers, silly bands and coloring books. WORTH COUNTY Worth County Farm Bureau (WCFB) celebrated Georgia Ag Day, March 13, by visiting two classes at the Worth County Primary School. WCFB Office Manager Barbara Morris and WCFB Secretary Connie Melton taught the students about Georgia’s beef industry as part of the organization’s yearlong commodity-of-the-year promotion. Each student received a gift bag filled with pencils, beef stickers, balloons, bookmarks and books about beef. Melton, center, is pictured with the secondgrade class of Jan Majeski, far left. Georgia Farm Bureau News
By Jay Stone ___________________________________ Visitors got a taste of the many products grown and processed in Georgia during the Celebrating Agriculture in Georgia event March 13 at the Georgia Freight Depot in Atlanta. The event featured the presentation of the Governor’s Environmental Stewardship Awards for Agriculture and the announcement of the winners of the final round of the Flavor of Georgia Contest. Gov. Nathan Deal and Agriculture Commissioner Gary Black hosted the event, which drew visitors from across the state, including 4-Hers and FFA students, along with members of the Georgia General Assembly and representatives of the state’s agricultural organizations. Deal and Black recognized Toombs County Farm Bureau Director Chris Hopkins as the state winner of the Governor’s Environmental Stewardship Award. Hopkins and his wife Marilynn also won the Region 5 award. They operate Hopkins Farm, growing cotton, peanuts, corn, wheat, timber, watermelons, rye and pecans on 600 acres of leased and owned land. Their conservation efforts include installing parallel terraces and grass waterways, using conservation tillage and removing highly erodible land from production. “For us, this means our conservation efforts are being recognized,” said Chris. “As farmers it is our responsibility to conserve the land that we make a living from.” Other regional winners were James Burton of Walker County, Dr. Carl Jordan of Clarke County, Glenn and Rabun Waller from Washington County and Adam Graft of Sumter County. High Road Craft Ice Cream, represented by Nicki Schroeder of Atlanta, won the Grand Prize in the 2012 Flavor of Georgia Contest with its Brown Butter Praline Ice Cream, which also won the dairy category. The Three Generations of Georgia, repreGeorgia Farm Bureau News
Photo by Jay Stone
Ag Day event features Ga. products & farmers’ stewardship efforts
Toombs County Farm Bureau members Chris and Marilynn Hopkins won the Governor’s Environmental Stewardship Award for Agriculture in Region 5 as well as the overall state award. The Hopkins were presented the award by Gov. Nathan Deal, right, and Georgia Agriculture Commissioner Gary Black, left.
sented by Cindy Fulghum, won the People’s Choice Award with its Chicken Log. The contest, designed to promote Georgia entrepreneurs producing food products made with Georgia-grown commodities, drew 75 entries, from which 26 finalists were chosen. The finalists’ products were offered for final judging and sampling during the Ag Day celebration. “This is truly a magnificent time to see so many young people and so many of you
who are involved not only in agriculture directly but also agribusiness,” Deal said. “It’s a good time to see what our products are, see what services are available and, I hope, to continue to have the optimism about what agriculture means in our state.” Approximately 50 ag organizations, including Georgia Farm Bureau, had exhibits at the event, and many of them brought samples of food products made from Georgia commodities.
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DOL withdraws proposed child labor rule In late May the U.S. Department of Labor officially withdrew its proposed regulations for children under the age of 16 who work in agriculture after announcing it would do so on April 26. In a statement posted on its website, the DOL noted, “The decision to withdraw this rule - including provisions to define the ‘parental exemption’ - was made in response to thousands of comments expressing concerns about the effect of the proposed rules on small family-owned farms. To be clear, this regulation will not be pursued for the duration of the Obama administration.” “We are pleased that the Department of Labor chose to withdraw this set of rules,” said Georgia Farm Bureau President Zippy Duvall. “As proposed, the DOL rule would have fundamentally changed how the de-
partment interprets the existing parental exemption for family farms and would greatly restrict the ability of youth to work on common farm equipment. It could have changed and hindered the ability of youth to gain real-life agricultural experience through education programs like 4-H and FFA.” GFB was one of many ag organizations that submitted comments to the DOL voicing concern about the proposed rule changes. The DOL said that instead of continuing to pursue the rules for on-farm labor, it would work with rural stakeholders like AFBF, the National Farmers Union, FFA and 4-H to develop an education program aimed at developing safe practices for farm work and preventing accidents involving young farm workers.
Floyd Taylor and Taylor Williams have hit the ground running in their new positions at the Georgia Department of Agriculture (GDA) as agriculture labor representatives. These positions were created with funds the Georgia General Assembly added to the GDA’s budget this year to help farmers address labor issues. “The need for this program was brought to the attention of the House Appropriations Committee by a number of state representatives from areas of the state growing crops that require hand labor,” said House Appropriations Chairman Terry England (R-Dist. 108). Taylor, a native of Moultrie, previously worked for his family’s ag supply company selling fertilizer and ag chemicals, buying peanuts and running a cotton gin. “We aren’t labor regulators or enforcers,” Taylor said. “Our role is to be a representative from the Department of Agriculture to troubleshoot for farmers and to go to bat for them.” Williams grew up on a farm in Oconee County and graduated from UGA. “We want farmers to know we care about their concerns and are doing everything we can to address them,” Williams said. “We hope farmers will call us when they have an issue, and we’ll travel down 18 / June-July 2012
Photo by Jennifer Whittaker
Ga. Dept. of Ag hires labor reps
Georgia Department of Agriculture employees Taylor Williams, left, and Floyd Taylor are helping farmers with labor issues.
the path with them to find a solution.” Taylor and Williams are currently traveling across the state meeting with farmers who rely on labor to harvest their crops. Williams will be based out of the GDA’s Tifton Agriculture Laboratory while Taylor will work out of the GDA’s Atlanta office. Farmers may contact either representative by calling the GDA office at 404-656-3600, Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
UGA ag leadership program accepting applications The UGA College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences is accepting applications for its inaugural class of the Advancing Georgia’s Leaders in Agriculture program. The application deadline is July 13 for the program that begins this fall. This program is replacing the Georgia Agri-Leaders Forum Foundation (GALFF) and alumni of GALFF will be considered alumni of the new program. During a two-year period, participants will spend about 52 days attending eight sessions held across Georgia and travel to Washington, D.C. and abroad to study Georgia’s involvement with international trade. The first class of 25 to 30 participants will be chosen through an application and nomination process. Applicants must be at least 25 years old, be actively involved in an agricultural or natural resource-related field and have demonstrated strong leadership potential. Tuition is $3,500 per participant. For more information visit http:// www.agla.caes.uga.edu or call Rochelle Strickland at 706-542-1204.
Peanut farmers reaffirm GPC
Georgia peanut farmers reaffirmed the Georgia Peanut Commission (GPC) by a vote of 87.6 percent during the recent referendum, held March 15 through April 15. “I appreciate the farmers’ confidence in the commission, and we are committed to continue earning that confidence,” said Armond Morris, a peanut farmer from Irwin County and GPC chairman. As required by state law, Georgia peanut farmers vote on the commission every three years. The ballots were mailed to peanut growers the week of March 15 and the Certified Public Accounting firm of Allen, Pritchett and Bassett counted the returned ballots on April 24. Georgia peanut farmers invest $2 per ton each year to fund the commission’s work in the program areas of research, education, promotion and communication. Georgia Farm Bureau News
By Jay Stone ___________________________________ It’s an election year, and candidates for all levels of government office are looking for even the smallest edge that might help them connect with voters. Participants in the campaign management seminar held March 26 and 27 at the Georgia Farm Bureau office learned what and what not to do on the way to being elected. The event, facilitated by American Farm Bureau Federation Director of Grassroots/Political Advocacy Cody Lyon, gave participants a start-to-finish view of the campaign process, including factors to consider when deciding to run for office, evaluating the voters, interacting with the media, selecting a campaign platform, budgeting, organization and strategy. “It’s important that candidates learn how to run a proper campaign so they know what actions are going to help them get elected, how they need to best communicate with the voters, what they need to say, how to set up their organization,” Lyon said. “There’s a myriad of actions that are required of any candidate. The Farm Bureau campaign school helps candidates know what to do and how to do it.” Lyon covered the qualities needed to be an electable candidate, led the participants through the process of identifying which issues are important in their campaign, showed them how to evaluate district voter demographics and walked them through key points in campaign strategy development. The course also included a review of tactics for interacting with news reporters and managing the campaign calendar, and Lyon stressed the importance of the candidate providing a steady stream of information, beginning with the campaign announcement. Participants in the seminar were given a set of guidelines to follow, including considering local factors when determining the timing and approach to use when announcing their candidacy. For example, Lyon advised them not to announce on a day when a special event is taking place and to hold the announcement press conference at a time of day that makes it easy for Georgia Farm Bureau News
Photo by Jay Stone
Campaign management seminar prepares future candidates
American Farm Bureau Federation Director of Grassroots/Political Advocacy Cody Lyon, standing, right, walked seminar participants through a mock campaign, complete with media interviews, budget decisions and what to do on election day.
news organizations to attend. “It’s hard to do [running for office] and these candidates need to have all the tools to win their race,” Lyon said. “This campaign school helps candidates put their resources in the right place. It helps candidates talk to voters in the right way, and it helps them understand and appreciate what is of most concern to the voters, so they base their campaign on solving the issues that are most important to the people in the district.” The participants included current local elected officials and those either currently running for office or considering doing so from various locations around the state. The seminar, which Lyon and other AFBF staffers have conducted in more than 30 states in the past year, is designed to help participants at all campaign levels identify factors to consider when making decisions in a campaign, walking them through a mock campaign. Lyons, who said 78 percent of the candidates who have taken the seminar have won their elections, stressed that being attuned to the interests of local voters is more important than party affiliation. “Parties cannot get you elected. Political parties have a hard time reaching voters who will vote based on issues that are most important to them,” Lyon said. “Most voters don’t care about the party platforms. They care about the issues that are most important to them. They care about the
issues that are affecting their lives today. What they’re looking for from a candidate is empathy. You recognize that issue, and you’ll do something about it once elected. That’s all they care about. “
June-July 2012/ 19
AROUND GEORGIA News from County Farm Bureaus BROOKS COUNTY Fifth-grade students in Brooks County have a better understanding of agriculture thanks to the Ag Day Brooks County Farm Bureau co-hosted with the Brooks County High School (BCHS) FFA this spring. Pictured from left, BCFB Women’s Committee members Lari Hagan and Jennifer Thompson told the students about Georgia’s poultry and egg industry. The 155 students and eight teachers who attended the event, held at the BCHS, rotated through seven learning stations to learn about dairy cows, horses and how to shoe a horse, forestry, aquaculture, horticulture and the FFA organization.
CHATHAM COUNTY Chatham County Farm Bureau (CCFB) Vice President Pete Waller hosted his annual strawberry festival at Ottawa Farms April 14-15. In addition to picking strawberries straight from the fields, attendees enjoyed a variety of events including live entertainment, pony rides, hayrides and craft vendors. CCFB hosted a booth at the festival to promote Farm Bureau benefits and services. Working the booth, pictured from left, are CCFB Secretary Annette Rackley, CCFB Customer Service Representative Kim Caldwell, CCFB Agency Manager Steve Darieng, Georgia Farm Bureau President Zippy Duvall, CCFB President Ed Zipperer and Bonnie Duvall. COLQUITT COUNTY Colquitt County Farm Bureau (CCFB) joined other members of the local ag community this spring to install a drip irrigation system in the school garden of R. B. Wright Elementary School. Pictured installing the system are from left, Ross Butler, a R. B. Wright parent; CCFB Women’s Committee member Nancy Coleman, CCFB Director Thomas Coleman, Calvin Perry, superinten20 / June-July 2012
dent of the UGA Stripling Irrigation Research Center; R. B. Wright student Hannah Butler and R. B. Wright gifted teacher Jennie Rich, who supervises student maintenance of the garden. The irrigation system will enable the gardens to be irrigated during night hours, school breaks and during the summer when school is not in session. DAWSON COUNTY Hollywood came to the Dawson County Farm Bureau (DCFB) office March 17-26 as Clint Eastwood shot part of his next film, “Trouble With The Curve,” in the lot next to the DCFB office. The movie used the DCFB parking lot to house the food services truck that fed the crew and actors. DCFB Agency Manager Keith Stone, left, and his wife Karen, had the chance to eat dinner with Eastwood and the movie crew after filming one day. The DCFB staff also got to meet Amy Adams, who plays Eastwood’s daughter in the movie. DCFB gave Clint’s bodyguard a Farm Bureau hat and gave the movie location scout a Farm Bureau hat and t-shirt.
EARLY COUNTY Early County Farm Bureau (ECFB) participated in the 4th Annual Peanut Proud Festival held March 24 in Blakely. ECFB provided festival attendees with golf cart rides from the parking area to the downtown square. ECFB Customer Service Representative Tyler Askew, pictured, was a volunteer cart driver. Georgia Farm Bureau News
Askew is pictured with the ECFB Peanut Proud Peanut decorated by ECFB Women’s Committee Chairman Angie Durham. ECFB joined other businesses in Blakely in decorating Peanut Proud Peanuts to reflect their businesses. The decorated peanuts were displayed in front of each participating business.
FLOYD COUNTY The Floyd County Farm Bureau (FCFB) Women’s and Young Farmers’ Committees held an Easter Egg Hunt April 7 at the farm of FCFB President Cecil Burk. About 250 children attended the event. Beef hotdogs were served during the event as part of Farm Bureau’s yearlong promotion of beef. Pictured from left, center, are George and Ivy Lowery, Lyndall Burk, Hannah Dellis, Leigh and Hannah Rush and Clint Robinson, a parent attending the event. FCFB Women’s Committee members Ivy Lowery, Lyndall Burk and Leigh Rush organized the event.
JEFF DAVIS COUNTY Jeff Davis County Farm Bureau (JDCFB) held a farm day at the Jeff Davis Primary School (JDPS) March 23. Jeff Davis Pre-K, Head Start, Emmanuel Academy and JDPS kindergarten, first and second-grade students attended the event. The students rotated through booths that included the Georgia Forestry Department, the Jeff Davis Fire Department, the Satilla Rural Electric Corp.’s “Power Table,” Capt. William L. Hires from the Governor’s Highway Safety Office with the Seat Belt Safety Truck, Yawn Farms, Fort Valley State University with Life on the Farm, the Mobile Dairy Classroom, Ga. Cattleman’s Association, USDA, Farm Service Agency and the Ga. Farm Bureau Commodities table. Lasseter Implement Company and JDCFB President James Emory Tate displayed new and antique tractors. Regina Barton is pictured talking to students about caring for her pony. Local 4-H and FFA members assisted with the event. MUSCOGEE COUNTY The Muscogee County Farm Bureau (MCFB) recently made a $1,000 donation to the local UGA Extension Service to provide gardening opportunities for more than 20 fourth-grade students participating in the Extension gardening program. This spring, students Georgia Farm Bureau News
participating in the program planted 10 vegetable gardens in raised beds, which they will water and harvest throughout the summer. The gardening program will also install an urban edible orchard at the Garrard Memorial Center, a center for youth programs in Columbus. Muscogee County Extension Agent Jennifer Davidson, center, accepts the donation from, pictured from left, MCFB Young Farmer Chairman Chris Gordy, MCFB President George Dudley, MCFB Secretary/Treasurer George Gordy and GFB 5th District Field Representative Cliff Bowden. RABUN COUNTY In March, Rabun County Farm Bureau donated a truckload of food to the Rabun Gap Presbyterian Church Food Bank. In addition to donating the food, RCFB members helped the church distribute the food. RCFB members who helped with the March food drive included Secretary/Treasurer Bill Enloe, pictured forefront, blue shirt, RCFB Director Jason Brown, pictured to the left of Enloe, Kathy Fisher, green shirt and not pictured, Women’s Committee Chair Rhonda Williams, Director Cliff Fisher and members Donna Young and Isaac Williams. TIFT COUNTY Tift County Farm Bureau sponsored a fire safety presentation for the second grade at Omega Elementary in March. Paul McGahee, a senior fire investigator with Georgia Farm Bureau Insurance, taught the students about fire safety topics including the importance of smoke detectors, exit drills in the home and how to get out of their homes in case of a fire. McGahee showed the students what firefighters wear when fighting fires so they would not be scared of firefighters trying to help them. TCFB gave all of the students fire safety books and rulers. June-July 2012/ 21
Members go back to school at GFB Educational Leadership Conference
22 / June-July 2012
hundreds of millions of dollars on broadcast advertising campaigns, produced animated videos and distributed printed materials that show agriculture in a negative fashion. Wolanyk also described how these groups are interconnected. “Farm Bureaus need to start telling their story and tell people that what these various activist groups and book authors are saying isn’t true,” Wolanyk said. “Farmers work diligently to provide excellent care for their animals and a safe and nutritious food supply.” Participants received training from American Farm Bureau Federation Director of Leadership Development John Torres on how to effectively communicate. Torres showed GFB members how simple and unexpected themes can make their stories memorable.
Chattooga County Farm Bureau Director John Leslie and his wife Linda work through the seed identification exercise in a workshop at the GFB Educational Leadership Conference.
During the conference, GFB also presented the Ronald McDonald House of Central Georgia with a check for $10,000, the proceeds collected by county Farm Bureaus around the state during the annual Food Check-Out Week activities.
Photo by Jennifer Whittaker
eorgia Farm Bureau members learned about classroom activities that can be used to teach students how crops grow, heard how various activist groups are working to influence students’ perception of ag and sharpened their communication skills during the 2012 GFB Educational Leadership Conference on March 24 at the Macon Marriott. The GFB Women’s Committee sponsored the conference, titled “Let It Grow,” which drew more than 240 participants. “It’s very important to give our volunteers and our county representatives training so they will be able to go back home and promote agriculture and present true agricultural facts in our counties,” said Women’s Committee Chair Linda Crumley. Nichelle Stewart of Cherokee County, Angela Todd of Evans County and Elaine Mercer of Laurens County shared how they’ve served as volunteers in schools to show school children how food is produced on the farm. They covered grade-specific activities and suggested community organizations that might be willing to support ag-related education activities. In honor of the 2012-2013 GFB featured commodity, soybeans, Todd walked participants through the process of getting soybean seeds to germinate, by putting two seeds in a plastic pouch with a puff of moist cotton to start the process. Karrie Perrin, a third-grade teacher at Toccoa Elementary School in Stephens County, shared a number of activities GFB volunteers may use to spread agriculture’s message in classrooms. Keynote speaker Betty Wolanyk, chief operating officer of Ag Literacy Works, gave a presentation entitled “Are You Smarter than an Activist?” Wolanyk showed a variety of tactics used by activist groups that are attacking modern agriculture. These groups, which have made pushes into schools, are well-funded and their campaigns are effective, Wolanyk said, providing a list of 21 groups that have spent
Photo by Jay Stone
By Jay Stone __________________________________________________________________________
1st District Tri-County Legislative Breakfast
Catoosa, Dade and Walker County Farm Bureaus co-hosted a tri-county legislative breakfast in LaFayette on May 1. Attendees enjoyed a delicious breakfast before hearing from their state and local officials from all three counties. Georgia Sen. Jeff Mullis thanked the farmers attending the breakfast for what they do to feed our country and the world. “The Georgia Ports Authority has grown and a large part of that is due to the farm exports that go through our ports,” Mullis said. Georgia Rep. Jay Neal, who serves on the House Appropriations Committee, said the General Assembly voted to allocate $600,000 to fund additional UGA research scientists and approved $2.5 million in bonds to renovate cabins at the Rock Eagle 4-H Center and $2 million in bonds for FFA camp improvements. Georgia Farm Bureau News
WE, THE FARMERS from page 4 and legislators to see how state laws needed to be strengthened to crack down on metal thieves. In April, Gov. Deal signed House Bill 872, which provides law enforcement with new tools to catch thieves, sets new documentation requirements that should make thieves easier to track and requires recyclers to only buy things like air conditioning coils, burial objects or burnt copper wires from documented owners. Every few years we face the challenge of writing a new farm bill and trying to secure federal farm policy that will provide a safety net for farmers as they work to feed America. Due to the federal deficit crisis our country is facing Congress plans to cut $23 billion in farm bill spending. Georgia Farm Bureau took a group of about 110 county Farm Bureau leaders to D.C., back in April to meet with Georgia’s congressional delegation. The farm bill was a priority topic as our members met with their representatives. They know where we stand on the issue. As we go to press, the Senate is beginning to debate its farm bill proposal. Georgia Farm Bureau has voiced concern that farmers need a safety net to protect them against potential downturns in commodity prices and that the Senate bill doesn’t provide adequate protection for peanut farmers. We’ll continue to monitor the bill’s progress this summer and voice the concerns of our farmers. The strength of our organization lies
FSA offices to close in August
The USDA is proceeding with the nationwide closure of 125 Farm Service Agency county offices announced in January, including three in Georgia. Georgia FSA Executive Director Hobby Stripling said the FSA offices in Baker, Candler and Morgan counties will close by sometime in August. Stripling said closure notices have been sent to farmers serviced by these offices. Farmers with direct or guaranteed loans with the FSA are advised to contact their loan officers to discuss where they would like to have their files relocated for service. Farmers affected by the closures will have the option of requesting the most convenient neighboring county office to conduct their FSA business, though their request is subject to state FSA committee approval. Georgia Farm Bureau News
in our membership. That’s why I’d like to congratulate the following 10 counties for being the district winners in our 75-Day Membership Contest: Bartow, Hart, Polk, Columbia, Troup, Washington, Toombs, Quitman, Miller and Irwin. These counties worked hard to have the largest percentage increase in membership between Feb. 15 and April 30. Although this contest is over, I’d like to encourage all of our members to join us in celebrating our 75th anniversary by asking your friends and neighbors to join Farm Bureau and support the work our organization is doing to represent agriculture and ensure America continues to enjoy a safe and reliable food supply grown in our country. We lost a great member in May with the death of GFB 4th District Director William Hutchins from a lung-related illness. William served on our state board since
2006. He devoted his entire life to farming and Farm Bureau, serving more than 30 years as a Barrow County Farm Bureau leader. He’ll be sorely missed and our condolences go out to his family. It’s a fact of life that as long as we’re living we’re going to face various life tests. The Bible tells us in James 1: 2-3: Consider it pure joy, my brothers whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance (New International Version). God allows us to face situations where our faith in him is tested and can be strengthened. After we’ve survived these tests we can look back on them and use our experience to encourage others. We become tried and true in our Christian faith just as Georgia Farm Bureau is tried and true in representing Georgia agriculture.
LEGISLATION from page 14 make thieves easier to track, including a copy of the seller’s valid identification, a photo of the seller’s face and the seller’s vehicle tag number along with a digital photo or video of the metal sold. The law prevents recyclers from buying air conditioning coils from anyone except a contractor or documented owner, burnt copper wire from anyone but contractors or an owner with a police report indicating
fire and burial objects from anyone but funeral directors, cemetery owners, manufacturers or documented owners. The metal theft bill, which passed with a House vote of 159-8 and a Senate vote of 50-0, requires that payments be made only by check or electronic transfer - none by cash. It also prohibits recyclers from cashing the checks they write to persons selling metal.
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