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Vol. 77 No. 3



The Voice of Georgia Farmers

June-July 2015

$500 Bonus For Georgia Farm Bureau Members

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table of

contents june-july 2015


we, the farmers PAGE 4

legislative update PAGE 5

commodities update PAGE 12

ag in the classroom update PAGE 19

young farmer update PAGE 23

around georgia


public relations staff Andy Lucas Director Jennifer Whittaker Editor Jay Stone Print/Web Specialist Lillian Davis Publications/Advertising Manager Michael Edmondson Web/Video Manager Ray D’Alessio Senior Producer/TV Host Kenny Burgamy Co-Anchor/Reporter Mark Wildman Senior Radio-TV Specialist Dean Wood Radio-TV Specialist Damon Jones Radio-TV Specialist Vickie Amos Office Coordinator For questions regarding advertising, contact Lillian Davis at 478-474-0679, ext. 5126 or email 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 Visit the GFB Web site today! Georgia Farm Bureau TV: “Like” us on Facebook: Follow us on Twitter: Check us out on Pinterest:

Georgia Farm Bureau News

County presidents honor friends of Farm Bureau, talk issues in Washington

County Farm Bureau leaders met with Georgia’s U.S. Congressional delegation during GFB’s annual trip to Washington, D.C., April 28-May 1 to discuss issues impacting agriculture. PAGE 6

Gov. Deal appoints new GSWCC Board

In April, Gov. Deal named five Georgians to serve on the reorganized Georgia Soil & Water Conservation Commission (GSWCC) as authorized by H.B. 397. The new commission voted to rehire Brent Dykes as GSWCC executive director. PAGE 8

Ga. Cattlemen’s Association Holds Convention, Beef Expo

Cattle producers attending this event had the chance to attend educational sessions and livestock sales while networking with fellow producers. PAGE 9

Wheels set in motion for federal pecan marketing order

The American Pecan Board has submitted a proposal to establish a federal marketing order for pecans nationwide. A hearing to receive comments from industry stakeholders will be held July 27-29 in Tifton. PAGE 10

Ga. Olive Growers Conference highlights emerging crop

Georgia olive growers shared production tips and heard industry updates during their annual conference held in Lakeland in May. Georgia has about 600 acres planted in olives with another 200 acres in the process of being planted. PAGE 14

Lyles named Ga. Sunbelt Farmer

Catoosa County farmer James David Lyles was introduced as the Georgia Sunbelt Farmer of the Year in March. PAGE 15

GFB members tour South Carolina farms

GFB members who went on the South Carolina Farm tour visited Clemson University, Strawberry Hill U.S.A., McLeod Farms, Boone Hall Plantation and the Charleston Tea Plantation. PAGE 16

Students create ag artwork for GFB Contest

GFB has awarded $1,550 to the state and district winners of its annual art contest. PAGE 18

FVSU observes 125th anniversary of 1890 Morrill Act Celebrating the 125th anniversary of the Morrill Act of 1890, which led to the establishment of Fort Valley State University (FVSU), was a highlight of FVSU’s 33rd Annual Ham & Egg Legislative Breakfast held April 21. PAGE 20

Highlights of Ga. FFA Convention include Paul speech & service projects Georgia FFA members worked to improve local homes and heard National FFA President Andy Paul speak during the 87th Georgia FFA Convention, held April 23-25 in Macon. PAGE 22

on the cover

(Photo by Neely South) Upson County Farm Bureau member Neely South shot this photo on her family’s farm and entered it in the 2013 GFB Photo Contest. Neely and her husband, Marcus, raise broilers, strawberries and livestock on their farm and proudly fly the U.S. flag on their barn year-round. The Souths served on the GFB Young Farmer Committee in 2013-2014. June-July 2015 / 3

we, the



The Voice of Georgia Farmers

Zippy Duvall, GFB President

Fighting the bad, celebrating the good

Farmers got disappointing news out of Washington on May 27 when the Environmental Protection Agency and U.S. Army Corps of Engineers indicated they plan to implement the Waters of the U.S. (WOTUS) rule that Farm Bureau has been fighting the past year. Your GFB legislative staff and American Farm Bureau’s staff have been analyzing the early version of the final rule the agencies released, and it doesn’t look good. Early analysis shows the final rule is even broader than the proposed rule. This is the agencies’ attempt to regulate all water under the Clean Water Act. The agencies rejected requests from Farm Bureau and landowners who submitted comments asking the agencies to exclude “water” features that only carry water when it rains and to require more than just the presence of the highly subjective bed, bank and ordinary high water mark to define a tributary subject to regulation. Instead, the final rule broadens the definition and makes so-called tributaries even more difficult for landowners to identify. You can read more about Farm Bureau’s analysis of the rule on page 5. Farm Bureau isn’t accepting the agencies’ implementation of their final rule as the end of this fight. We’re still working with members of Congress to pass legislation that would require the EPA to go back to the drawing board and consult properly with landowners and other stakeholders whom the rule will affect. We want the EPA to give our concerns serious consideration and not just lip service. If we fail to succeed with a legislative option, then we’ll pursue blocking implementation of WOTUS, or the Clean Water Rule as EPA is now calling it in an attempt to win public favor, by focusing on the interagency review process of the U.S. Depart-

ments of Agriculture, Transportation, Defense, Energy & Small Business Administration. If this fails, then Farm Bureau will pursue a litigation strategy focused on showing WOTUS exceeds Congress’ original intent under the Clean Water Act. EPA is saying that their new rule doesn’t change the exemptions agriculture has in the Clean Water Act, but, by broadening the definition of waters of the U.S. under their “Clean Water Rule,” the rule basically makes all land subject to the rule and would make field work like putting out fertilizer or applying herbicides and insecticides an illegal activity unless the farmer gets a permit. As farmers, this will hinder our ability to raise food for America and jeopardizes the future of agriculture. Rest assured, Farm Bureau isn’t rolling over on this issue. Farmers have too much at stake. I’m sure we’ll be calling on you, our members to send more comments to EPA and contact your legislators, so please be prepared to do so. To stay up-to-date on this issue, make sure you’re signed up to receive legislative updates via email through GFB’s VoterVoice and our weekly GFB News Alert. You may signup for VoterVoice at www. and for the GFB News Alert at GFBNewsAlertsignup. The young people we have coming behind us who want to farm and work in agribusiness are the reason we can’t give up the fight on this WOTUS issue. I had the chance to visit with the 2015-2016 Georgia FFA officers on June 8 and, as always, was impressed by their enthusiasm to learn more about our organization and their appreciation of what farmers do. I’m looking forward to spending time with GFB’s Young Farmers during their See WE, THE FARMERS page 13

GFB President Zippy Duvall and his wife Bonnie with their son, Zeb, on his graduation from the UGA College of Veterinary Medicine in May. 4 / June-July 2015

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 Asst. Corporate Secretary JON HUFFMASTER Asst. Treasurer DAVID JOLLEY

DIRECTORS FIRST DISTRICT: Bill Bryan, Summerville; Wesley Hall, Cumming SECOND DISTRICT: Bobby Gunter, Dahlonega; Randy Ruff, Elberton THIRD DISTRICT: George Chambers, Carrollton; Nora Goodman, Temple FOURTH DISTRICT: Skeetter McCorkle, Dearing; Marvin Ruark, Bishop FIFTH DISTRICT: Ralph Adamson Jr., Barnesville; Jim Ham, Smarr SIXTH DISTRICT: James Malone, Dexter; James Emory Tate, Denton SEVENTH DISTRICT: Gary Bell, Bellville; Ben Boyd, Sylvania EIGHTH DISTRICT: Scotty Raines, Sycamore; Don Wood, Rochelle NINTH DISTRICT: Lucius Adkins, Elmodel; Paul Shirah, Camilla TENTH DISTRICT: Daniel Johnson, Alma; David Lee, Alma YOUNG FARMER CHAIRMAN: David Cromley, Brooklet WOMEN’S COMMITTEE CHAIR: Janet Greuel, Fayetteville 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 Lili Davis, 478-474-0679, ext. 5126, or email: Georgia Farm Bureau News was established in 1937. Copyright 2015 by the Georgia Farm Bureau Federation. Printed by Panaprint, Macon, Georgia.


Georgia Farm Bureau News

legislative update

Jon Huffmaster, Legislative Director

Water rule infringes on private property rights Congress passed the Clean Water Act (CWA) in 1972, giving the federal government the authority to regulate navigable waters of the United States. Since passage of the CWA, the U.S. Supreme Court has decided numerous cases in an attempt to determine what is meant by navigable “waters of the United States” (WOTUS). In April 2014 the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the Army Corps of Engineers proposed a rule titled “Definition of ‘Waters of the United States’ Under the Clean Water Act.” The agencies contend the purpose is to clarify what is considered a WOTUS, subject to federal regulation. Farm Bureau contends the rule greatly expands federal regulatory authority and infringes on private property rights. Farm Bureau urged the agencies to withdraw the rule and led a campaign for landowners to submit comments during the public comment period. The comment period ended last November, and during that time GFB members submitted 15,558 comments urging withdrawal of the rule. Instead of withdrawing the rule or making substantive changes to it, the agencies are moving toward final approval. The prepublication version of the rule was released on May 27 and it will become law 60 days after it is published in the Federal Register. The rule expands federal jurisdiction by application of new definitions, such as tributaries. According to the new rule, “For purposes of the Clean Water Act…the term ‘waters of the United States’ means…(5) All tributaries, as defined in paragraph (c)(3)…” Therefore, the way this rule defines “tributaries” is very important to landowners. According to paragraph (c)(3), “The terms tributary and tributaries each mean a water that contributes flow, either directly or through another water…to a water… of this section that is characterized by the presence of the physical indicators of a bed and banks and an ordinary high water mark.” In the new rule’s preamble, there is an Georgia Farm Bureau News

additional explanation of tributaries. “Under the rule, flow in the tributary may be perennial, intermittent, or ephemeral…Ephemeral streams have flowing water only in response to precipitation events in a typical year.” This definition of tributaries means anything with physical indicators of a bed, bank, and high water mark will be considered a tributary of a navigable water of the United States subject to federal regulation. Even if no water is present, the land will be considered a tributary if the physical indicators are there.

The new rule also includes a very broad definition of “significant nexus,” a test used to determine whether an area is a WOTUS. Significant nexus is defined to include waters that trap sediment, recycle nutrients, trap and filter pollutants, retain floodwaters, store runoff, contribute flow, export organic matter, export food resources, or provide habitat for life cycle dependent aquatic species. From a practical standpoint, nearly all water will perform at least one of those functions. EPA’s response to concerned landowners was a public relations campaign to encourage citizens to support the rule. The agency has also provided misleading information about it. For example, the EPA website states there are exemptions for farm ponds. However, the only ponds exempted

from the rule are those without an inlet or outlet. Exempted ponds are those “created by excavating and/or diking dry land.” This rule is not legislation; it is a rule proposed by a federal agency, and as such, it will not be voted on by Congress. Farm Bureau, however, is calling on Congress to block the agencies from implementing the rule. On May 12 the U.S. House of Representatives passed H.R. 1732 by a vote of 261-155. Georgia Farm Bureau supports the legislation because it blocks implementation of the rule and sends it back to the agencies for more stakeholder involvement and participation. Congressmen Rob Woodall and Rick Allen cosponsored the bill. All members of the Georgia delegation voted in favor of passage except for Congressmen Hank Johnson and John Lewis. In the U.S. Senate, S. 1140 would require the agencies to withdraw the rule and adhere to limiting principles to ensure any new proposal would conform to jurisdictional limits set by Congress and affirmed by the Supreme Court. Farm Bureau supports this legislation, and both Sens. Johnny Isakson and David Perdue are cosponsors. The Senate Environment & Public Works Committee passed the bill, but it had not come up for a floor vote when we went to press. Farm Bureau is also working through the appropriations process to block funding to the agencies as they move to implement the rule. The organization is also analyzing ways to fight the measure in court when the agencies begin to enforce it. Farm Bureau members can help by constantly reminding members of Congress about their concerns regarding the erosion of private property rights. Elected officials need to know that landowners will not continue to put up with the steady erosion of private property rights by federal agencies with no accountability to voters. Jon Huffmaster is director of the GFB Legislative Dept. and GFB Asst. Corporate Secretary. June-July 2015 / 5

Photo by Jill Adkins Photo by Jay Stone

Rep. Sanford Bishop, second from right, receives the Friend of Farm Bureau Award from GFB 1st Vice President Gerald Long, left, and GFB 9th District Directors Paul Shirah and Lucius Adkins.

Sen. Johnny Isakson, center, receives the Friend of Farm Bureau Award from Georgia Farm Bureau President Zippy Duvall, left, and American Farm Bureau Federation Executive Director of Public Policy Dale Moore. Isakson was one of six members of Georgia’s Congressional delegation to receive Friend of Farm Bureau awards, given based on their voting records during the 113th Congress.

County presidents honor Friends of Farm Bureau, talk issues in Washington By Jay Stone _____________________________________________________________________________


percent or more of selected bills. State Farm Bureaus must approve the award recipients. “We wanted the members of Congress to see the examples of the issues we’re facing and how those examples affect farmers back on the farm,” GFB President Zippy Duvall said. “That’s what I hope the congressmen and senators heard from them and took away from their meetings. What I hope our volunteers took away from this trip is that these people want to hear from them.” On April 29, the GFB group of 123, including members from 41 counties, visited the offices of all 14 Georgia representatives on Capitol Hill. The group presented the or-

GFB 5th District Director Ralph Adamson, right, presents the Friend of Farm Bureau Award to Rep. Lynn Westmoreland (R-Ga. 3rd District). 6 / June-July 2015

Photo by Jay Stone

Photo by Jay Stone

eorgia Farm Bureau county presidents presented Friend of Farm Bureau awards to six members of Congress and discussed issues important to Georgia agriculture during their annual trip to Washington, D.C., April 28-May 1. Reps. Sanford Bishop (D-2nd District), Austin Scott (R- 8th District), David Scott (D13th District), Lynn Westmoreland (R-3rd District) and Rob Woodall (R-7th District) and Republican Sen. Johnny Isakson were given the Friend of Farm Bureau Award for the 113th Congress. The award is presented to members of Congress whose votes agree with American Farm Bureau’s position on 66

Georgia Farm Bureau members meet with Rep. Tom Graves, third from left. Georgia Farm Bureau News

ganization’s position on federal regulations that infringe on private property rights, GMO labeling, tax issues, allowing the president trade promotion authority (often referred to as “fast-tracking”), immigration and federal risk management programs, including the Pasture, Range and Forestland program and revenue protection for avian influenza. During breakfast that morning, the group received policy briefings from American Farm Bureau Federation (AFBF) staff on key issues being considered on Capitol Hill. AFBF President Bob Stallman outlined the organization’s position on immigration reform, a GMO labeling bill that has been introduced in Congress, regulations under the Endangered Species Act and the EPA/Corps of Engineers rule defining the Waters of the U.S. “I am the most proud of Farm Bureau I think I’ve ever been on any issue with the way, last year, that we stepped up on the national and state level and talked about what that really meant,” Stallman said Sens. Isakson and David Perdue each spoke to the group during a breakfast on April 30, during which Isakson received his Friend of Farm Bureau award. Isakson gave details on a trade promotion authority bill, which would give the president power to negotiate trade agreements. The Senate has since passed the bill. At press time a similar bill awaited consideration in the House. Under both bills, trade agreements the president negotiates with foreign countries would be subject to Senate approval. Georgia Farm Bureau News

Peanut hay affecting Ga. land values under Pasture, Range and Forage program

Photo by Ashlee Wood

Photo by Jay Stone

Rep. Austin Scott, left, receives the Friend of Farm Bureau Award from GFB Middle Georgia Vice President Robert Fountain Jr.

By Jay Stone ________________________________________________________________________ Georgia Farm Bureau is among a group of livestock forage stakeholders asking the USDA’s Risk Management Agency (RMA) and National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS) to change the way peanut hay is counted as a factor in forage land values as a part of the RMA’s Pasture, Rangeland and Forage (PRF) program. Under PRF, forage landowners receive payments if rainfall drops below certain thresholds. The payments are based on the value of the forage produced. Peanut hay is considered a forage crop in the PRF program. Because Georgia produces about half the nation’s peanuts, the volume of peanut hay results in its overall forage land values being lower than in neighboring states. The current county base value for hay in Georgia is $160.17 per acre. In Florida that value is $372.03 per acre, while in South Carolina it is $210 per acre and in Alabama it is $208.20 per acre. UGA Extension Forage Specialist Dr. Dennis Hancock said Georgia forage land is not appropriately valued in the PRF program, noting that a tremendous volume of crop residues and mulch is baled and traded in the state. “The problem is that no distinction is made in NASS’s surveys between crop residues/mulch bales and a bale of Bermudagrass or ryegrass,” Hancock said. Hancock explained that when an NASS surveyor asks a producer to count “all hay” he produced, the producer reports every bale he made. For Georgia producers, “all hay” includes crop residue bales, mulch hay bales, and their bales of Bermudagrass, ryegrass, or other hay crops. In other states, the producers make a distinction between crop residue/mulch and their hay crops. “For example, a diversified farmer in Iowa who makes grass hay and bales up his corn stover doesn’t really consider both to be “hay” and NASS statistics essentially reflect that. But, in Georgia, if it is baled, it is called “hay” and reported as such,” Hancock said. “Because crop residue and mulch bales are sold for much less than what most producers would sell their Bermudagrass hay bales for, we end up with hay values being reported that are not representative of what our major hay crops’ bales are truly worth or selling for on the open market.” During the Georgia Farm Bureau county presidents’ trip to Washington, D.C., GFB members brought the issue to the attention of Georgia’s U.S. Congressional delegation. The stakeholder groups, including the Georgia Cattlemen’s Association, UGA Extension specialists and others, want to see peanut hay counted as a by-product in the same way corn stalks and wheat straw are counted. June-July 2015 / 7

Photo courtesy of Gov. Deal’s office

Gov. Nathan Deal, third from left, swore in new members of the Georgia Soil and Water Conservation Commission on April 16. Commission members, pictured from left are: Garland Thompson, Jason Winters, Harold Fallin, Drew Echols and Bob Martin.

Gov. Deal appoints new GSWCC Board, Dykes continues as executive director By Jennifer Whittaker __________________________________________________________________________ On April 15 Gov. Nathan Deal named five Georgians to serve on the reorganized Georgia Soil & Water Conservation Commission (GSWCC) as authorized by H.B. 397, which the Georgia General Assembly passed this year and Deal signed into law April 8. The bill authorized Georgia’s governor to appoint one at-large member from each of the GSWCC’s five regions to serve on the commission beginning in 2015. The appointees are: Jason Winters of Chattooga County representing GSWCC Region I; Drew Echols of Hall County representing GSWCC Region II; Garland Thompson of Coffee County, representing GSWCC Region III; Harold Fallin of Upson County, representing GSWCC Region IV; and Bob Martin of Irwin County representing GSWCC Region V. The new commission members, sworn in on April 16, held their first meeting April 21 during which they elected Garland Thompson as commission chairman and Harold Fallin as vice chair. The commission voted to rehire Brent Dykes as GSWCC executive director according to a statement released by the GSWCC. In March, a three-member majority of the previous GSWCC board fired Dykes, an 18-year veteran with the GSWCC who had served as GSWCC executive director 8 / June-July 2015

for the last seven years. In rehiring Dykes, the newly appointed GSWCC directors recognized the efforts of GSWCC Deputy Executive Director Dave Eigenberg, who provided leadership and commitment to the agency during the previous 30 days. According to the GSWCC April 21 statement, “As of today, Dave will continue in his role and responsibilities as Deputy Executive Director, and he and Brent look forward to many productive days ahead.  Through the combined efforts of the agency’s staff and the newly appointed state board, the agency looks forward to continuing to provide exceptional service to Georgia’s 40 conservation districts and the citizens of Georgia.” According to a staff member of Gov. Deal’s press office, H.B. 397 specified that the initial appointments made to the GSWCC this year would be for staggered terms ranging from one to five years. As the terms of the new members expire, their successors will be appointed for five-year terms. Fallin, appointed for a one-year term, is owner of Hickory Hill Farm and president of Georgia Farm Products Sales Corp. He is a district supervisor for the Towaliga Soil & Water Conservation District and serves on the Two Rivers Resource Conservation & Development

Board, the Upper Flint Regional Water Planning Council, the Upson County Farm Bureau Board of Directors and the Georgia Farm Bureau Aquaculture Committee. Winters, appointed for a two-year term, is the sole commissioner of Chattooga County and recently served two years as vice chairman of the Georgia Rural Development Council. He serves on the board of directors of the Chattooga County Boys and Girls Club and is a member of the Summerville Trion Optimist Club. Thompson, appointed for a three-year term, is a retired senior vice president for the SunTrust Bank of Coffee County and presently serves as chairman of the bank board. He serves as vice chair of the Altamaha Soil & Water Conservation District. A Farm Bureau member and emeritus director of the Sunbelt Exposition Board, Thompson has served on the Georgia Agribusiness Council and the Municipal Electric Authority of Georgia. Martin, appointed for a four-year term, is an agribusinessman and farmer who is a shareholder of Dixie Peanut Co. and Osceola Cotton Co., in Ocilla. He is a district supervisor for the Middle South Georgia Soil & Water Conservation District and serves on the Ben-Hill/Irwin County Farm Service Agency Committee and the Irwin County Farm Bureau Board of Directors. Echols, appointed for a five-year term, is a managing partner of Jaemor Farms where he oversees production and agritourism. He currently serves as a director of the Georgia Fruit & Vegetable Growers Association, the UGA College of Agricultural & Environmental Sciences (CAES) Advisory Board and the Hall County Farm Bureau Board of Directors. Echols and his wife, Shelly, served on the GFB Young Farmer Committee from 20052006 and received the 2014 GFB Young Farmer Achievement Award. H.B. 397 assigned the GSWCC to the Georgia Department of Agriculture for administrative purposes to comply with zero-based budgeting requirements. The GSWCC will continue to help farmers and landowners conserve soil and water resources in a voluntary, non-regulatory manner. Georgia Farm Bureau News

Ga. Cattlemen’s Association holds Convention, Beef Expo

By Jay Stone __________________________________________________________________________


ucational sessions, three different livestock sales and lots of networking and social opportunities. The Cattlemen’s Beef Expo featured more than 100 exhibitors, and the convention drew more than 800 visitors. Western Kentucky University Animal

Photo by Jay Stone

he Georgia Cattlemen’s Association held its 54th Annual Convention and 18th Annual Georgia Beef Expo April 1-4 at the Georgia National Fairgrounds & Agricenter. The multifaceted event included Zoetis Cattle College ed-

Clemson University Extension Beef Specialist Dr. Matthew Burns, left, talks participants through a simulated calving demonstration during the Georgia Cattlemen’s Association Convention and Beef Expo in early April.

Enrollment begins for USDA ARC & PLC programs Farmers have until Sept. 30 to formally enroll in the Agriculture Risk Coverage (ARC) or Price Loss Coverage (PLC) safety-net programs for 2014 and 2015 according to the USDA. Farm owners and producers had until April 7 to make a one-time choice of the program in which they would participate. The new programs, established by the 2014 farm bill, trigger financial protections for producers when market forces cause substantial drops in crop prices or revenues. Commodities covered under ARC and PLC include peanuts, soybeans, wheat, corn, grain sorghum, canola, barley, large and small chickpeas, crambe, flaxseed, lentils, mustard seed, oats, dry peas, rapeseed, rice, safflower seed, sesame and sunflower seed. Upland cotton is covered by the STAX program. In Georgia, 100 percent of peanut farms elected for PLC, while Georgia farmers producing the other covered crops generally favored ARC. For instance, 87 percent of Georgia’s soybean growers, 84 percent of the state’s corn growers and 74 percent of its grain sorghum growers went with ARC. Georgia Farm Bureau News

Science Professor Dr. Nevil Speer led the Convention’s livestock marketing seminar. Noting that 2014 was an extremely good year to be in the cattle business, Speer said a similar price run in 2015 is unlikely but that prices would remain strong, with some volatility. “We’re probably going to see more ebb and flow this year, and I think we all need to be prepared for that,” Speer said. Kevin Oschner, host of the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association show “Cattlemen to Cattlemen,” gave the luncheon address on April 2, comparing life to an auction. Oschner said success at auctions comes down to recognizing opportunities, assessing the competitive landscape, making strategic decisions and taking action. “I think we have some tremendous opportunities in the beef industry,” Oschner said. Clemson University Extension Beef Specialist Dr. Matthew Burns led simulated calving demonstrations. On April 4 Georgia Farm Bureau President Zippy Duvall was part of the Zoetis Cattle College Hot Topics Roundtable, along with State Veterinarian Dr. Robert Cobb and AgSouth Farm Credit Chief Lending Officer Van McCall. For the fourth straight year the Georgia Forages Conference was held in conjunction with the GCA Convention, offering educational sessions on fertilization, selecting and establishing forage crops, hay management and storage and weed and pest control. UGA graduate student Chris Johnston presented information about problem weeds and what to do about them, covering herbicide applications that have been effective against pigweed, dog fennel, thistle, smut grass and others. Johnston noted that many herbicides have haying and grazing restrictions and emphasized the importance of checking the labels before use. UGA Entomologist Dr. Will Hudson discussed strategies for dealing with several insects, particularly fall armyworms, which were especially bad in 2014. According to Hudson, the armyworms winter in Florida and drift north with weather fronts, and their infestations are made worse in years when there is little rainfall. The worms consume the green leaves of grass, resulting in a brownish look to fields they infest. June-July 2015 / 9

Hearing set for July 27–29 in Tifton

Wheels set in motion for federal pecan ma By Jennifer Whittaker _____________________________________

Why order is needed

Living in Georgia, where the majority of U.S. pecans are produced, it’s hard to imagine anyone not having tasted a pecan or having several bags in the freezer. But, the reality is, a lot of work needs to be done to put pecans on the minds of consumers outside the growing region. Consumers living in the 15 states where pecans are commercially produced are familiar with the nut. However, many consumers aren’t aware of pecans or don’t buy them as often outside the commercial growing region that stretches along the U.S. southern border from North Carolina to California and includes Arkansas, Missouri, Kansas and Oklahoma. “Consumers outside the 15 production states don’t know about pecans. I can testify to this because I’m in Utah, and I didn’t know about fresh pecans until I started working on this project,” Melissa Schmaedick, a senior marketing specialist with the USDA Marketing Order Administration Division, told pecan growers attending a session about the proposed order. “You guys have a great story to tell.” The APB Board of Directors, a volunteer, unpaid board of growers and shellers representing the three growing regions – Eastern, Central and Western – of the U.S. pecan growing belt, has served as the steering committee for establishing the order. APB President Mike Adams, a grower from Caldwell, Texas, believes establishing a federal marketing order is essential to ensuring the future growth of the pecan industry. “As good as the folks are that work for us 10 /June-July 2015

Photo by Jennifer Whittaker

Georgia pecan growers attending the Georgia Pecan Growers Association’s 50th Annual Conference held March 24-26 in Perry heard research, trade and marketing updates from numerous pecan experts. One of the hot topics was a progress report on efforts to establish a federal marketing order intended to increase consumer demand for pecans in the U.S. For about a year and a half, the American Pecan Board (APB) has been working to establish the marketing order in hopes it will increase consumer awareness of and demand for pecans.

American Pecan Board President Mike Adams and USDA Senior Marketing Specialist Melissa Schmaedick gave an update on the proposed federal marketing order for pecans to Georgia growers attending the Georgia Pecan Growers Association annual meeting on March 25.

on the state and regional level, our industry doesn’t have any professional staff that works for the entire industry 12 months out of the year,” Adams said. “This is a self-help program for the pecan industry. This will give us an opportunity to exert some influence on what is going on in our industry. This is a way we as pecan stakeholders can influence our own future.” Garrett Ganas, chairman of the Georgia Farm Bureau Pecan Committee, supports the order. “I believe that a federal marketing order is needed for the pecan industry to have sustained profitability in the long-term. This is something that will help unify our industry nationwide,” Ganas said.

be held in July in Tifton, Las Cruces, N.M. and Dallas, Texas. The Georgia hearings are set for July 27-29 at the Hilton Garden Inn. Hearing sessions will begin each day at 8 a.m. and conclude at 5 p.m. each day. “I’d encourage people who are interested in or concerned about the marketing order to attend one of the three days of hearings the USDA will hold in Tifton,” Ganas said. The USDA is looking at holding a referendum in September 2016. For the marketing order to pass, either two-thirds of the qualified growers voting must vote in favor of the order or the number of favorable votes cast by growers must represent two-thirds of the production volume voting Schmaedick explained.

Process to establish marketing order

According to the APB proposal, qualified growers would be defined as those producing a minimum of 50,000 pounds of inshell pecans during a representative period (average of four years) or owning a minimum of 30 pecan acres as recognized by the Farm Service Agency, Schmaedick said. While qualified growers will be the only segment of the industry to cast votes to determine if they want to implement a marketing order, both qualified growers and shellers would serve on the council that would oversee the order. A qualified sheller is defined in the

Adams and Schmaedick outlined the process of establishing a pecan marketing order and the work the APB has accomplished to hold a referendum in which pecan growers will vote to decide if they want to establish the order. The APB submitted a draft of the marketing order to the USDA in May. The proposal may be read at The next step will be to hold three public hearings in each of the U.S. pecan growing regions during which pecan industry stakeholders can give feedback. The hearings are set to

How will it work?

Georgia Farm Bureau News

rketing order

Georgia Farm Bureau News

GFB Pecan Committee tours USDA research center

Georgia Farm Bureau’s Pecan Advisory Committee toured the USDA Southeast Fruit and Tree Nut Lab in Byron as a part of their committee meeting on May 7. Committee members were able to tour the center’s research orchards and learned about the work the center is doing to improve yields by addressing disease and pest issues. Pictured from left are committee members David Levie, Mark Cook, Danny Brooks, Committee Vice Chairman Vinson Griffin, GFB 8th Dist. Director Don Wood, Elliott Ellis, Paul Jones, Committee Chairman Garrett Ganas, James Exum and GFB Commodities Dept. Director Don McGough.

Georgia Pecan Growers Association recognizes past presidents

Photo courtesy of GPGA

draft marketing order as handling more than 1 million pounds of inshell pecans in a fiscal year. If the referendum passes, qualified growers and shellers from each of the three growing regions would nominate their respective peers as potential council members. Small growers and shellers as well as large growers and shellers would be represented on the council. Each region will be represented by three growers and two shellers. After receiving the industry nominations, the Secretary of Agriculture would appoint the council members. The first council would be seated in 2017, and then that council would propose assessment rates. After receiving public comments on proposed assessment rates and marketing order regulations, the final rules could be in place in time for the 2017 growing season. Each handler who first handles inshell pecans would be responsible for remitting the order assessment that will be used to fund the activities approved by the council. All assessment funds would be used to benefit the U.S. pecan industry. “The cost of the assessment that the handler remits may be reflected in the price he pays to the grower for his product, but as the demand for pecans increases as a result of the marketing order, then the higher price will enable the handler to pay the grower more,” Adams said. “It is simple economics – consumer demand goes up, shellers get more for their pecan kernels, and growers get more for their pecans.” While final assessment rates won’t be determined until after the referendum is passed and the council is seated, preliminary proposed rates for three categories of pecans are: 1 to 2 cents/inshell pound for native and seedling varieties; 1 to 2 cents/inshell pound for sub-standard pecans and 2 to 3 cents/inshell pound for improved varieties. “Catching the vision of what we can be is important. Sixty years ago the pecan industry was larger than the almond industry. Today, almonds are a 33 times larger industry than they were 60 years ago,” Adams said. “In these 60 years almonds have quadrupled their price – a real world example that marketing works.” To learn more about the proposed marketing order visit

Georgia Pecan Growers Association President Brad Ellis, at podium, recognized past presidents of the association during the organization’s 50th anniversary celebration held in March at the Agricenter in Perry. Pictured from left are Roy Goodson, Larry Willson, Putt Wetherbee (accepting for Frank Wetherbee), Bucky Geer, Mike Horne Sr., John Robison, Hilton Segler, Duke Lane Jr, and Randy Hudson.   Other awards presented included the Jack Thompson Award presented to Mike Horne Sr. of Andersonville for the impact he makes on the pecan industry. The Georgia Pecan Grower of the Year Award was presented to Tom Childress of Albany. The Georgia Pecan Growers’ Lifetime Achievement Award was presented to the Easterlin Family of Montezuma. June-July 2015 / 11

commodities/marketing update Brandon Ashley, Marketing Specialist

State pollinator plans are best way to approach bee health

12 / June-July 2015

ing winter months to no more than 15% within 10 years. 2. Increase the Eastern population of the monarch butterfly occupying an area of approximately 15 acres in overwintering grounds in Mexico by 2020. 3. Restore or enhance 7 million acres of land for pollinators over the next five years through federal actions and public/private partnerships. In this document, the EPA states, “The Presidential Memorandum specifically tasked EPA to assess the effect of pesticides, including neonicotinoid pesticides, on the health of bees and other pollinators, and to

increase pollinator health is for each state and its respective stakeholders to develop its own plan to formulate the best ways to approach bee health. A state-by-state approach is reasonable since agriculture is diverse, and each state has varying production practices, climate and pest concerns. Georgia is developing a state plan, which will be a guidance document for educational purposes. The main aspect of the plan will be encouraging improved communication with beekeepers and landowners. Ultimately, as the draft of the Georgia plan states, the health and welfare of bees rests with the beekeeper. Integrated Pest Management Plans and Best Management Practices should be considered when placing bee hives and applying pesticides. Georgia Farm Bureau (GFB) has been heavily involved with the development of the state pollinator protection plan, authored by the University of Georgia Cooperative Extension Service and the Georgia Department of Agriculture. On January 27, GFB hosted a meeting for stakeholders representing many areas of agricultural production to discuss the proposed state plan. There were several beekeepers in attendance, including members from the GFB Honeybee Commodity Advisory Committee. GFB has supported the proposed plan throughout its draft stages. The Georgia pollinator plan is expected to be released soon. The issue of pollinator health continues to be studied, and there are still many questions that need to be answered. Being a general farm organization, GFB will continue to actively participate in this process to ensure bee colonies remain healthy, while at the same time advocating farmers have timely use of certain pest control measures to guarantee the viability of their crops. Brandon Ashley is a commodity marketing specialist in the GFB Commodities/Marketing Dept. Photo by Jay Stone

The health of pollinators – especially honeybees – is something everyone should take seriously. Beekeepers, farmers, and homeowners all have a role to play to ensure the sustainability of bee populations. In recent years, the widespread loss of bee populations and the phenomenon of Colony Collapse Disorder (CCD) have been widely reported. Dr. Keith Delaplane, University of Georgia professor of entomology, has been a leader in researching the cause of CCD. Delaplane was the national director of a $4.1 million USDA grant to study CCD, and the project he led was a cooperative effort of scientists from around the country working on bee decline. There are many factors that contribute to CCD and overall decline in bees. Unfortunately, many are simply casting all the blame for bee decline on pesticide exposure. Yes, exposure to pesticides will kill bees, but pesticides are not the only reason for bee decline, or the main cause of concern. According to the Report on the National Stakeholders Conference of Honey Bee Health, written by a group of apiary researchers from across the country, “the parasitic mite Varroa destructor remains the single most detrimental pest of honey bees, and is closely associated with overwintering colony declines.” According to the University of Georgia, if no action is taken against the Varroa mite, a colony will die within 1-2 years of infestation. Other causes of bee decline in addition to the parasitic Varroa mite are: viruses spread by Varroa mites, transportation and handling of hives, loss of bee habitat, declining forage diversity and pesticide exposure. On May 19 the EPA released a document titled “National Strategy to Promote the Health of Honeybees and Other Pollinators.” The EPA’s strategy includes three main goals: 1. Reduce honeybee colony losses dur-

take the appropriate actions to protect pollinators.” Arbitrarily assigning blame to pesticides, specifically neonicotinoids, without sound science will not solve this issue. According to the USDA Agricultural Research Service, “The pesticide class neonicotinoids (clothianidin, thiamethoxam, and imidacloprid) has been accused of being the cause of CCD. Neonicotinoids were developed in the mid-1990s in large part because they showed reduced toxicity to honey bees, compared with previously used organophosphate and carbamate insecticides. One aspect of the EPA’s proposal to

Georgia Farm Bureau News

WE,Georgia THE FARMERS from page Farm Bureau will 4award aa Georgia Farm on Bureau award annual conference Jekyllwill Island July total of $14,250 in scholarships to 10 total of $14,250 in scholarships tothis 10 15-18. We’re changing things up to a little high school seniors who plan pursue high school seniors who plan to pursue yearundergraduate with the conference in that we’re going an degree in ango undergraduate degree in agricultural agricultural to ahead and select the winners of theand YF and sciences, family and environmental environmental sciences, familyConand Discussion Meet, the YF Achievement consumer sciences aa related consumer sciencesinor orAgriculture related agriculagricultest and Excellence Contest. tural field. tural field. The primary reason for doing this is so the The top three students will top have three students will each each stateThe winners more time to prepare for receive a scholarship of $3,000. receive scholarship of $3,000. The The the AFBFacompetition. remaining seven students will each remaining students each rere We’re inseven the process of will selecting the ceive a $750 scholarship. ceive YF a $750 scholarship. three Achievement finalists, and you’ll submitting applicaStudents submitting anissue applicaget Students to meet them in the nextan of the tion must currently be a Georgia high News. We’llcurrently also provide coverage tion must becomplete a Georgia high school senior and plan to enroll of the other contests theto conference. school senior andand plan enroll in in aa unit of the University System of Geor unitIf of you’ve attended the annual Sunthe never University System of Georgia during the belt Expo FieldCollege Day, it’s coming on2014July 9, gia or or Berry Berry College duringup the 20142015 academic year. and to go. It’s a great oppor2015I encourage academicyou year. tunity to hear about new seed varieties and crop protection products the top ag companies are offering. A free biscuit breakfast will be served starting at 7:15 a.m. with shuttles heading to the fields at 8 a.m. Tours will end at noon with a barbecue lunch followed by a crop dusting demonstration. The school year has come to an end fans aa daily and graduations areeanut behind us. have I know how eanut fans have daily chance to win a proud and excited you are of chance toyour win children a vacavacation and hundreds of who have completed their and are tion andstudies hundreds of other prizes until Nov. 30. heading out other into theprizes worlduntil to make their Nov. 30. Vacation destination mark. Bonnie and I are celebrating choices our last Vacation destination choices include California, Colorado, child’s graduation. Zeb has finished veteriinclude California, Colorado, New York or Florida. nary school at UGA and is now working for New York or Florida. Visit Visit Dogwood Genetics working on large animals. to to register register for for aa chance chance to to win. win. After registering, GFB accepting committee After registering, participarticipants play pants play aa game game called called “Crack “Crack nominations the Peanut” for a chance win theFarm Peanut” for presidents a chance to to win County Bureau have instant prizes like peanut instant likemembers peanut and and until Aug. 21 to prizes nominate to peanut butter packs, and cards. serve on the Georgia Farm Bureau peanut butter packs, iPods iPods and gift giftComcards. IfIf modity you three peanuts match, Advisory Commityou crack crack threeCommittees. peanuts that that match, then you’re an instant winner! tee you’re members offer input to GFB leaders then an instant winner! “When itit comes to through and staff regarding commodities. “When comes their to getting getting through an an early morning or long day, everyone wins Nominees GFB members early morning ormust longbe day, everyone wins with At per andpeanuts. active producers of grams the commodity with peanuts. At seven seven grams per servserving, peanuts have more energy-boosting forpeanuts which they’re ing, have nominated. more energy-boosting protein than any Bob GFB protein than Commodity any nut, nut,”” said saidCommittees Bob Parker, Parker, president and CEO of the National Peaare: Aquaculture, Cattle, Cotton, president and CEOBeef of the National Peanut Board. “Through the Energy to Burn Dairy, Direct Marketing/Agritourism, nut Board. “Through the Energy to Burn sweepstakes we’re able the Environmental Equine, sweepstakes we’reHorticulture, able to to celebrate celebrate the power of peanuts and help re-energize Feedgrain/Soybeans, Fruits, Forestry, power of peanuts and help re-energize Hay, Honeybees, Peanuts, Pecans, Americans with vacation. ”” PoulAmericans with aa fun fun vacation. try, Sheep/Goats, Swine, Tobacco, VegThe “Energy to Burn” sweepstakes, The “Energy to Burn” sweepstakes, isis etables and Water. sponsored sponsored by by the the National National Peanut Peanut Board Board co-presented Contact Don by McGough at 1-800and Hampton and co-presented by Hampton Farms, Farms, 342-1196 for more information. Planters Planters and and Skippy. Skippy.

Peanut Peanut sweepstakes sweepstakes offers offers vacation, vacation, assorted assorted prizes prizes


Georgia Neighbors • ews Fall G eorgia Farm Bureau N 2013 Georgia Neighbors • Fall 2013

Contact your Farm Bureau Contact your county county Farm Bureau He is amore graduate of the first class to finoffice for information or an applioffice for more information or an appliish the Food Animal Veterinary Incentive cation. application deadline is Febcation. The The application isFarm FebProgram (FAVIP). This is deadline a program ruary 21, 2014. Applications must be apruary 21, 2014. Applications must be apBureau supports to increase the number of proved and signed by the Farm Bureau proved and signed by the Farm Bureau large animal veterinarians in underserved president of the in the president the county county in which which the apapareas of ourofstate. This program encourages plicant resides or attends high school. plicant resides or attends high school. young vet students to focus on large animals You may download aa copy of Youstudies. may also also download copyyou of in their For more information the application by visiting http://www. the visit application by visiting http://www. can online at, selecting Programs and then Ag, selecting andmore thendifAg Life on the farmPrograms is becoming in the Classroom.   in thebyClassroom.   burdensome governficult the day. Over The Georgia Farm MuThe Georgia Farm Bureau comMument regulations, unfair trade Bureau practices, tual Insurance Company and the GFB modity prices, well, the list just seems get tual Insurance Company and thetoGFB Women’s sponlonger. ButLeadership we must keepCommittee up the good fight. Women’s Leadership Committee sponsor the program. sor Our children desire the same opportuthe scholarship scholarship program. Winners will be announced in May nityWinners to farm aswill their The beforefathers. announced in chalMay 2014. lenges I just mentioned sometimes seem too 2014. numerous to overcome but as always we can

turn to the Bible for encouragement. As Moses stood on the banks of the Red Sea and looked back and saw his enemies coming by the hundreds he was still not afraid. He trusted in the Lord to see him through. The Bible tells us in Deuteronomy 20:1 NKJV: “When you go out to battle against your enemies, and see horses and chariots and people more numerous than you, do not be afraid of them; for the LORD your God is with you.” We, the farmers, must trust the Lord to see us through and cultivate the wonderful exciting talents that God has instilled in our children. So let’s keep fighting the bad and praise God for the good and celebrate in his blessing.

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GFB to award college scholarships



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Photo by Jennifer Whittaker

Ga. Olive Growers Conference highlights emerging crop

The Georgia Olive Growers Association Conference included a tour of the groves at Georgia Olive Farms in Lakeland. UGA Horticulture Specialist Erick Smith, center, answers questions about growing olive trees. Visit to view more photos from the event.

By Jennifer Whittaker ___________________________________


live growers and those interested in the crop met for the Georgia Olive Growers Association (GOGA) annual meeting May 14 at the Threatte Center in Lakeland, Ga. Attendees from Georgia, Texas, and Florida gathered to share production tips and learn about USDA programs, such as Value Added Producer Grants, and Georgia marketing programs, like Georgia Grown, that could help the emerging industry. Georgia has about 600 acres planted in olives, with another 200 acres in the process of being planted, and about 18 growers, GOGA Executive Director Vicki Hughes said. Five of those growers - Brian Roberts, Tommie Williams, Kevin Shaw and Sharon Cobb Flanagan and Jason Shaw - shared their experiences of growing the crop during a panel discussion. Kevin Shaw, who started growing olives in 2008 with his cousins Jason and Sam, and business partner Berrien Sutton, said the optimum time to plant new trees is from mid-April to the first part of June. “Trees may be planted in the fall, but you stand a risk of trees not being established when the first cold snap hits,” Shaw said. “When a tree is not ready for the winter the damage is going to be a lot worse.” Tommie Williams, his brother, Clint, and business partner Darrien Ramsey, planted five acres of olive trees in Toombs County five years ago and have expanded their grove to 30 acres. In addition to growing the three 14 / June-July 2015

varieties originally recommended for Georgia – Arbequina, Arbosana and Koroneiki – Williams is also experimenting with two new varieties – Favolsa and Don Carlo - in an attempt to find a variety that will yield more gallons of oil per acre. If the olive groves get too much rain in August and September before the olives are harvested in late September and October, the percentage of oil in the olives drops, Williams said. Although Williams won a Gold Award at the 2014 New York International Olive Oil Competition for his Terra Dolce Arbequina oil, he cautions anyone thinking about growing olives. “Don’t get into it unless you can afford to lose your investment,” Williams said. Georgia’s current olive acreage is located in the Southeast part of the state from Lakeland up to a northern line running from Hawkinsville to Lyons. Olive trees are susceptible to cold temperatures that can damage the tree itself or cause fruit loss. UGA Horticulture Specialist Erick Smith said the olive growing region in Georgia is limited by the tree’s sensitivity to cold weather. “If you live in an area that sees low temperatures for consecutive days that drop to 27 degrees or lower I would be very cautious about putting in olives. If we get real cold temperatures, we’re going to have frozen plants and lower yields,” Smith said. “This is still very new and we have lots of people trying it with varying degrees of success.” Kimberly Houlding, president and

CEO of the American Olive Oil Producers Association (AOOPA), gave conference attendees an update on the U.S. olive oil industry. Houlding said U.S. growers produce three percent of the olive oil consumed in the U.S. California leads the nation in production with about 35,000 acres of olive trees. Texas has about 4,000 acres of olive trees and Arizona has about 2,000 acres. Olives are also being grown in Florida, which has about 300 planted acres. Houlding said AOOPA is working to get stricter labeling standards for imported olive oil since 97 percent of olive oil consumed in the U.S. is imported and two-thirds of this oil has been found to be mislabeled as high-quality extra virgin olive oil when it isn’t. “I think the future of the American Olive Oil industry is pretty bright. We might only be three percent of the olive oil consumed in the U.S. but we’re up from one percent a couple of years ago.” The conference ended with a tour of olive groves and the pressing mill at Georgia Olive Farms owned by the Shaws and Sutton. The farm harvested its first crop for oil in 2011 and is pressing and bottling its own oil sold through retail shops and their farm website. “It’s still a very exciting and rewarding project to be a part of. There are a lot of eyes on what we’re doing in the South,” Jason Shaw said. “You need to be prepared for a long-term investment. We know a whole lot more than when we started, but I think we have a whole lot more to learn.” Georgia Farm Bureau News

By Jay Stone ___________________________________ Catoosa County farmer James David Lyles was introduced as the Georgia Sunbelt Farmer of the Year during the 2015 National Ag Week Kickoff at the Georgia Freight Depot in Atlanta on March 10. Lyles and his wife, Tara, raise beef and poultry and grow hay on their farm in Ringgold. They will represent Georgia in October at the 2015 Sunbelt Expo, where they’ll compete with nine other state winners for the title of Swisher Sweets Sunbelt Agricultural Expo Farmer of the Year. Georgia Agriculture Commissioner Gary Black welcomed the crowd and reflected on the event’s progress from the initial Governor’s Ag Awareness Day in

2004 with approximately 75 people on the steps of the state capitol to a multifaceted celebration. “From meager days of 75 or 80 of us standing on the steps of the Capitol, we’ve been able to grow,” Black said. “We see some really good things coming, with the addition of the Flavor of Georgia and the celebration of youth coming back to the capitol, and all our commodity associations and trade associations coming together as one under one roof.” UGA College of Agricultural & Environmental Sciences Dean Scott Angle spoke about the growth of agriculture in the state and the fact that there are job opportunities for college-educated ag professionals. “One of our problems - and this is our

Photo by Jay Stone

Lyles named Ga. Sunbelt Farmer

Georgia Agriculture Commissioner Gary Black, right, with James and Tara Lyles.

challenge, probably the challenge for everyone in this room - we only train about half of the needed college-educated workforce in agriculture in the state of GeorSee FARMER page 24

Coppola takes grand prize in Flavor of Georgia contest Adriana Coppola of A&A Alta Cucina Italia took the top prize in the UGA Flavor of Georgia Food Product Contest, winning with her Balsamico al Mirtillo (blueberry balsamic vinegar), which also won the salsas, chutneys and condiments category award. The winners of the annual contest were announced during the 2015 National Ag Week Kickoff at the Georgia Freight Depot in Atlanta on March 10. Category winners in the Flavor of Georgia contest receive membership in the Georgia Department of Agriculture’s Georgia Grown program and the right to stamp their products with the 2015 Flavor of Georgia logo. As the grand prize winner, Coppola received a complimentary booth at the Georgia Food Industry Association annual convention in July. Other category winners were: Barbecue Sauces - Wynn Bakke of Causey Foods, Causey’s Hot BBQ Sauce; Beverages - Erin Boettger and Chris Paulk of Paulk’s Pride, 100% Purple Muscadine Juice; Confections - Geoff Repella, Byrd Cookie Company, Georgia Peach Cookies; Dairy Products - Ken and Deana Bibb, Proper Pepper Get Back Jack Pimento Cheese; Jams and Jellies – John and Kimberly Conner, Fairywood Thicket Farm, Georgia Farm Bureau News

Photo by Jay Stone

By Jay Stone ___________________________________

Georgia Agriculture Commissioner Gary Black, second from left, and UGA College of Agricultural & Environmental Sciences Dean Scott Angle, right, present the Overall Winner award to Adriana Coppolla, second from right, of A & A Alta Cucina Italia for its Balsamico Al Mirtillo balsamic vinegar. With Coppolla are Janet Ethridge (left) of Shared Kitchens and Kathy Kuzava of the Georgia Food Industry Association, center, which provides the contest winner with a complimentary booth at the GFIA convention.

Strawberry Lavender Jam; Marinades, Sauces and Rubs - Dave and Carol Legasse of the Salt Table, Tybee Island Coastal Seasoning Blend; Meat and Seafood - Del and Debra Ferguson of Hunter Cattle Company, Grass-Fed New York Strip Steak; Miscellaneous - Robert and Dana Edmondson of Ziegler Honey, Georgia Wildflower Honeycomb; Snack Foods Ross Harding of Verdant Kitchen, Savan-

nah Snaps; People’s Choice Award (voted on by attendees at the event) - Eric Wisham and Abbey Bowen of Wisham Jellies, Cranberry Pepper Jelly. The Flavor of Georgia contest is sponsored by the UGA College of Agricultural & Environmental Sciences’ Center for Agribusiness & Economic Development. For more information visit June-July 2015 / 15

Tea plants at the Charleston Tea Plantation. Visit for more photos.

GFB members tour South Carolina farms

Article & photos by Jennifer Whittaker __________________________________________________________________________ eorgia Farm Bureau’s South Caro- sity Director of Extension, welcomed the lina Ag Tour, May 19-21, took GFB group to the T. Ed Garrison Livestock participants from the rolling green Arena & gave an overview of Clemson’s Exhills in Upstate Carolina through the Mid- tension programs. Clemson students gave lands down to the Low Country. Before the tour group a demonstration of English leaving Georgia, the tour stopped at Jaemor and Western riding styles. Farms’ Commerce Market where tour par- The tour then visited Memorial Staditicipants had a chance to shop and Drew um, affectionately called “Death Valley” by Echols gave everyone Georgia Grown/ Clemson football fans. Dr. Bert McCarty, Jaemor Farms t-shirts. a Clemson turfgrass professor, and Clem “Our programs committee evaluated son Athletic Fields Manager Mike Echols, our previous tours and decided to go out shared how they care for Frank Howard of state to mix it up to give our members field, which is sodded with Bermudagrass a chance to see a different point of view,” and has a sand base to allow water to drain GFB President Zippy Duvall said. quickly in the event of rain during games. During the first stop at Clemson Uni- Strawberry Hill U.S.A. in Chesnee, versity, South Carolina’s land-grant univer- S.C., South Carolina’s largest strawberry sity, Dr. Tom Dobbins, Clemson Univer- farm, was the next stop on the tour where


While visiting Strawberry Hill, U.S.A., the GFB group proudly wore Georgia Grown/ Jaemor Farms t-shirts Drew Echols gave them during the stop at the Jaemor Market in Commerce. Visit & to view more photos. 16 / June-July 2015

The Cooley Family proudly flies 400 American Flags over its 110 acres of strawberries at Strawberry Hill U.S.A. Visit for more photos.

GFB members were welcomed by owner James Cooley, the 2013 Southeastern Sunbelt Farmer of the Year. Cooley’s wife, Kathi, sister, Jeannie Roberts, and one of his daughters, Bethani, served as guides during wagon rides through the 110 acres of strawberries, 40 acres of blackberries and 1,000 acres of peaches. The Cooleys proudly fly 400 American Flags throughout their strawberry fields as a tribute to James’ father, Gene, who served in WWII and his brother, Ansel, who farmed with Gene. The day ended with a delicious chicken dinner prepared by the Cooleys and served in their market café. Gaie McLeod and son, Spencer, welcomed the group to McLeod Farms, home to the Mac’s Pride brand of peaches, in McBee, S.C. The McLeods grow row crops in addition to 650 acres of peaches. After touring the farm’s packing shed, the group spent time at the McLeod Farms Antique Museum, which showcases a wide variety of antique tractors, vehicles and farm implements. Despite rainy weather, GFB members enjoyed touring the Boone Hall Plantation house in Mount Pleasant, S.C., and learning about the plantation’s history that dates back to 1681. Once known for cotton and pecans, today Boone Hall produces strawberries, tomatoes, summer vegetables and pumpkins sold to the public at the farm’s market. The last tour stop was Charleston Tea Plantation on Wadmalaw Island - the only See FARM TOUR page 22 Georgia Farm Bureau News

The Georgia Cotton Commission (GCC) honored Marvin Ruark during a March 29 ceremony at the Madison-Morgan Cultural Center in Madison to celebrate his retirement from the commission after serving 35 years on the GCC board of directors. The GCC worked with the MadisonMorgan Conservancy and the MadisonMorgan Cultural Center to organize the event, which commemorated Ruark’s lifelong contribution to agriculture in Georgia and included more than 100 of Ruark’s family and friends in the cotton industry. Ruark is a Georgia Farm Bureau 4th District Director and a past president of Morgan County Farm Bureau. His family has been in the cotton business for more See RUARK page 25

Photo by Andy Lucas

Georgia Cotton Commission honors Ruark

GFB 4th District Director Marvin Ruark, far right, and his wife, Bebe, received a framed print of a cotton farm and an etched plaque commemorating his 35 years of service on the Georgia Cotton Commission (GCC) Board. Pictured from left thanking Ruark for his service are GCC Board Member Wavell Robinson, Georgia Farm Bureau President Zippy Duvall, Ruark’s son John, GCC Chairman Mike Lucas, GCC Advisor Gary Bell, GCC Vice Chairman Lee Cromley and GCC Board Member Bart Davis.


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Georgia Farm Bureau News

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June-July 2015 / 17

State winner, Jamie Armstrong, Floyd County, GFB 1st District

Students create ag artwork for GFB Contest

Floyd County student Jamie Armstrong won the 21st Annual Georgia Farm Bureau Art Contest with her detailed sketch of a farmers market. The daughter of Robert and Diane Armstrong, Jamie was a junior at Armuchee High School when she entered the contest earlier this year. Armstrong received a $100 cash prize for being the top winner from Georgia Farm Bureau’s 1st District and a $250 cash prize for being the state winner. MacKenzie Anderson of Early County, GFB 9th District, and Bryce Bennett of Ware County, GFB 10th District, were the state runners-up in the contest. Anderson and Bennett each won $150 as the runners-up and $100 for being district winners. The contest, open to any high school student, received 57 entries statewide. Drawings were judged on artistic merit and how well the artwork represented Georgia agriculture. Other district winners in the art contest were: Denisse Rodriguez, Elbert County, GFB 2nd District; Bianca Steele, Polk County, GFB 3rd District; Kimberly Thurman, Glascock County, GFB 4th District; Clara Reinagel, Upson County, GFB 5th District; Autumn Fields, Laurens County, GFB 6th District; Gracie Sommer, Screven County; GFB 7th District and Cody Clements, Sumter County, GFB 8th District. The winning artwork from each district will be featured in 18 / June-July 2015

Runner-up, Bryce Bennett, Ware County, GFB 10th District

Runner-up, MacKenzie Anderson, Early County, GFB 9th District

GFB’s 2016 Ag in the Classroom calendar along with two other contest entries selected by the judges. The GFB Women’s Leadership Committee coordinated both contests on the state level and county Women’s Committees promoted the contests locally. “This contest is a great way for county Farm Bureaus to make contact with high school art teachers who might otherwise never explore agriculture in their classrooms,” said GFB Women’s Leadership Committee Chairman Janet Greuel. “We appreciate all of the counties who reached out to their local teachers or directly to students to ask them to participate in the contest.” Visit to see all district winners artwork. Georgia Farm Bureau News

Georgia Farm Bureau News

Photo by Donna Rocker

During the educator workshop hosted by Walker County Farm Bureau (WCFB) on April 30, teachers visited Pigeon Mountain Simmental where owner John Howard, standing at tailgate, discussed how he raises beef cattle, chickens, horses and sheep. WCFB President Mike Bunn, far right by truck, welcomed the teachers to the workshop.

Teachers attending the Houston County workshop are shown doing an activity that teaches students about different soil types and stages of plant growth.

Courtesy Perdue Farms

Georgia Farm Bureau (GFB) facilitated Ag in the Classroom Educator Workshops in Walker County on April 30 and in Houston County on May 6. GFB Ag in the Classroom (AITC) Coordinator Donna Rocker spoke at both workshops telling the teachers how they can use AITC lessons to teach their students about agriculture while meeting mandated curriculum standards. Each teacher received more than $100 in resource materials to use in their classrooms to teach students about agriculture. The Walker County Educator Workshop began at the Gilbert Elementary School with Walker County Farm Burau President Mike Bunn welcoming the teachers to the event. The teachers toured the aquaponics and hydroponics facilities at the elementary school and then visited two farms in the county. During a stop at Pigeon Mountain Simmental, farm owner John Howard told the Walker County teachers how he raises beef cattle, chickens, horses and sheep. The teachers also visited Long Hollow Dairy where Alex Millican answered questions about his dairy while his brother, Kimelan, talked about his row crop farm. In addition to the 30 teachers who attended the Walker County workshop - three from each of the 10 elementary schools in the county – Walker County School Superintendent Damon Raines, Walker County School Board Director Dale Wilson and Walker County Curriculum Instructor Robin Samples also attended the event. Houston County Farm Bureau (HCFB) President Wayne Talton and HCFB Women’s Committee Chairman Carol Baker welcomed 22 teachers to the educator workshop HCFB held at Perdue Farms on May 6. Baker, who is a shift supervisor at Perdue Farms, gave a brief history of the chicken company. Perdue Farms Manager of Operations Lee Hix gave an overview of the equipment the facility uses to debone and process chicken for consumers in a safe, humane and efficient way. He told the teachers the Perry facility supplies chicken to all of the Chic-fil-A restaurants in the Houston County area. The Houston County teachers also visited with Marcus South, an Upson County poultry farmer who raises chickens for Perdue, via Skype and then toured the Perdue processing facility.

Photo by Donna Rocker

GFB hosts workshops for Walker and Houston Co. teachers

Foundation for Agriculture receives grant

The Arthur W. Perdue Foundation recently awarded a $4,700 grant to the Georgia Farm Bureau (GFB) Foundation for Agriculture to fund a GFB Agriculture in the Classroom (AITC) Educator Workshop in Houston County. The Perdue Foundation is the charitable giving arm of Perdue Farms. Participating in the donation presentation were, pictured from left: Morningside Elementary Principal Dr. Pat Witt, GFB Foundation for Agriculture Executive Director Jed Evans, GFB AITC Coordinator Donna Rocker, Morningside Elementary Teacher Kay Miller, Morningside Elementary Teacher Mandy Tannehill, Perdue Farms Team Leader & Houston County Farm Bureau Women’s Committee Chairman Carol Baker; Perdue Farms Unit Leader Lee Hix, Houston County Farm Bureau President Wayne Talton, and GFB 8th District Field Representative Ken Murphree. The Perdue grant funded a workshop GFB and Houston County Farm Bureau held May 6 at Perdue Farms attended by 22 Houston County teachers. June-July 2015 / 19

Photo by Jennifer Whittaker

Georgia Sen. John Kennedy (R-Dist. 18), at podium, reads a proclamation from Gov. Nathan Deal recognizing 2015 as the 125th anniversary of the Morrill Act of 1890, which established land-grant institutions for African Americans. FVSU leaders accepting the proclamation were, pictured from left, Dr. Govind Kanna, dean of the FVSU College of Agriculture, Family Sciences & Technology; Dr. Mark Latimore Jr., FVSU Extension Administrator and FVSU President Ivelaw Griffith.

FVSU observes 125th anniversary of Morrill Act

By Jennifer Whittaker _________________________________________________________________________


elebrating the 125th anniversary of the Morrill Act of 1890, which established land-grant institutions for African Americans, was a highlight of Fort Valley State University’s (FVSU) 33rd Annual Ham & Egg Legislative Breakfast held April 21 at the C.W. Pettigrew Farm & Community Life Center. Georgia Sen. John Kennedy (R-Dist. 18), whose district includes Peach County where the university is located, presented a proclamation to FVSU leaders from Gov. Nathan Deal recognizing the milestone occassion. The proclamation honored FVSU and the work it does to benefit Georgia agriculture. Fort Valley Mayor Barbara Williams presented a similar proclamation to FVSU officials. Fort Valley High & Industrial School was chartered in 1895. In 1902 the State Teachers & Agricultural College of Forsyth was founded. In 1939 the two schools consolidated creating Fort Valley State College, which became Fort Valley State University in 1996. “This university has a lot to offer to any student looking to further their education and to the Fort Valley Community it is an economic engine,” said Georgia Rep. Patty Bentley (D-Dist. 139), whose 20 / June-July 2015

district is home to FVSU. The breakfast, emceed by University System of Georgia Regent Larry Walker, gave Middle Georgia residents, FVSU employees and alumni an opportunity to hear legislative updates from federal and state elected officials. FVSU President Dr. Ivelaw Griffith welcomed event attendees saying, “It matters that all of these people come here together once a year because in the state of Georgia agriculture accounts for the livelihood of millions of people, and over the years, farmers have been engaged in making a difference.” Sen. Kennedy discussed education legislation the Georgia General Assembly passed this year including a budget allocation of $4 million to renovate Bishop Hall at Fort Valley State University, which houses the school’s mass communications program. “We’re truly excited about that. It will be great for your media program,” Kennedy said. Rep. Bentley, who serves on the House Agriculture Committee, mentioned several allocations included in the state budget that will benefit agriculture including $151,000 of Georgia Soil and Water Conservation Commission administra-

tive funds that will be redirected to fund GSWCC district programs. Ken Cutts, district director for U.S. Rep. Sanford Bishop, gave a legislative update on behalf of Rep. Bishop, who was unable to attend due to his congressional duties in Washington, D.C. Cutts discussed a bill Rep. Bishop cosponsored with Rep. Kevin Brady (R-Texas) to repeal the federal estate tax, which jeopardizes the continuation of family farms and small businesses as it levies a tax up to 40 percent on estates inherited with a value more than $5.4 million for individuals and $10.8 million for couples. The U.S. House passed the Death Tax Repeal Act of 2015 (H.R. 1105) by a vote of 240 to 179 on April 16 and sent it to the Senate where it awaits action. Members of Georgia’s U.S. delegation who voted for the bill in addition to Bishop were: Reps. Rick Allen, Buddy Carter, Doug Collins, Tom Graves, Jody Hice, Barry Loudermilk, Tom Price, Austin Scott, Lynn Westmoreland and Rob Woodall. “We’re happy the bill passed the House of Representatives. It will now go to the U.S. Senate, but the President has already indicated he will veto it if it makes it to his desk, but we’ll just have to wait and see,” Cutts said. Dr. Fred Harrison, executive director of the Georgia Farm Service Agency, shared how the USDA is investing in Georgia agriculture and encouraged farmers to get a copy of the 2014 farm bill to read up on programs the bill offers to farmers. “The Georgia Farm Service Agency has been working to implement the farm bill. Direct payments are gone and this is an insurance bill,” Harrison said. “Agriculture returns more to the state of Georgia than you ever know. Agriculture is always going to be the [economic] driver in this state.” Harrison, an alum and former FVSU faculty member, also strongly urged state legislators to allocate money next year in the state budget to match federal grants available to 1890 land-grant universities such as FVSU. “If we don’t continue to do what we need to do on the federal land-grant match we’re going to lose the federal grant money available to us,” Harrison said. Georgia Farm Bureau Legislative DiSee FVSU next page Georgia Farm Bureau News

Edna Childs, wife of former GFB VP, dies

Edna Childs, wife of former Georgia Farm Bureau 1st Vice President Donald Childs, died May 2. Survivors include her husband, Donald; sons, Steve and Jerry; four grandchildren and five great-grandchil- Edna Childs dren. Condolences may be sent to the Childs family at 5057 Highway 334, Commerce, Ga. 30530.

Former GFB Director Quinon Robinson dies

Quinon F. Robinson of Carroll County, who served as a Georgia Farm Bureau director from 1984 to 2001, died March 19. A lifelong farmer, Robinson, 78, served as president of Carroll County Farm Bureau from 1974 to 1976. He is survived by  his wife Quinon Robinson Patricia; sons Mark, Robbie, and Dennis and  daughter Kristi Cummings; nine grandchildren and one greatgrandchild. Condolences may be sent to the family at 774 High  Point  Road, Bowdon, Ga. 30108. FVSU from previous page rector Jon Huffmaster told event attendees that Georgia is fortunate to have state officials who recognize the economic importance of agriculture. “In Georgia we have a general assembly, a commissioner of agriculture and a governor that really support agriculture. They want to know what they can do to assist agriculture and make it grow. That’s not the case in every state,” Huffmaster said. Georgia Commissioner of Agriculture Gary Black gave an update on Georgia Department of Agriculture activities saying more than 600 farms and businesses have enrolled in the Georgia Grown program since the GDA relaunched it three years ago. Georgia Farm Bureau News

WTO rules against U.S. in COOL case

On May 18 the World Trade Organization (WTO) announced that its appeals panel had rejected the United States’ appeal of a WTO compliance panel ruling announced in October 2014 against U.S. Country of Origin Labeling (COOL) rules. The compliance panel ruling indicated that COOL gives less favorable treatment to beef and pork imported from Canada and beef imported from Mexico and provides Canada and Mexico with justification for assessing retaliatory tariffs on U.S. products if the U.S. fails to end COOL by mid-November. Canada is the U.S.’ largest trading partner and Mexico ranks third. Together the two countries account for nearly 30 percent of all U.S. international trade, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. The Coalition for COOL Reform estimates that $493 million worth of Georgia products could be exposed to Canadian and Mexican tariffs. U.S. House Agriculture Committee Chairman Michael Conaway (R-Texas) introduced H.R. 2393 on May 19. The bill would repeal COOL requirements for beef, pork and chicken. Georgia U.S. Reps. Rick Allen (R-12th Dist.), Sanford Bishop (D-2nd Dist.), Austin Scott (R-8th Dist.) and David Scott (D-13th Dist.) were among the bill’s 56 cosponsors. The American Farm Bureau Federation is supporting Conaway’s bill. “While we were hopeful that WTO would have found COOL to be legal, it is now clear that we are far better off with no mandatory labeling for beef, pork and chicken, which should end threats of retaliation by our two closest trading partners,” said AFBF President Bob Stallman. “Canada and Mexico could retaliate with $2 billion in tariffs against U.S. food if we don’t stop the labeling program.” A USDA study mandated by the 2014 farm bill found that COOL rules have resulted in net losses for the U.S. beef and pork industries, which have incurred additional costs in complying with the rules without any increase in consumer demand that would offset the costs.

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June-July 2015 / 21

Georgia FFA Convention

FFA students hear Paul, work in service project

Photo by Jay Stone

By Jay Stone ___________________________________

Andy Paul, the 2014-15 National FFA President and former Georgia FFA President, spoke during the Georgia FFA Convention.

Georgia FFA members worked to improve local homes and heard National FFA President Andy Paul speak during the 87th Georgia FFA Convention, held April 23-25 at the Macon Centreplex. Paul, who grew up in the Athens area and is a former Georgia FFA President, gave the keynote address during the April 24 afternoon session. In an entertaining speech that covered driving his dad’s pickup to get hay for his hogs, street ministry in his hometown and playing laser tag, Paul talked about how taking the first step of committing to service is important, but after that there’s more to be done. “Get out of your comfort zone and take the second step into service,” Paul said. “All that matters is that you take a second to take that step.” The convention, using the theme “Go All Out!” drew 6,524 students from around

Ga. Dept. of Ag euthanizes chickens Prompted by concerns over the possible spread of highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI), the Georgia Department of Agriculture (GDA) destroyed three non-commercial flocks of chickens on small farms in Meriwether and Ben Hill counties on June 16. The USDA notified Georgia State Veterinarian Dr. Robert Cobb late in the week ending June 13 that chicks and eggs on three Georgia farms were shipped from an Iowa facility that tested positive for the H5N2 strain of HPAI. The Iowa facility tested positive after the birds and eggs were shipped and arrived in Georgia around June 2. “There were no signs of any illness on any of the three premises,” Cobb said. “What we’re going to do is keep them under quarantine until a flock plan can be established, which will include such things as cleaning and disinfecting and making sure that anything associated with these shipments, such as crates, are destroyed and disposed of properly, that all the 22 / June-July 2015

incubators are cleaned and disinfected properly. Then at that time we can lift the quarantine.” Cobb said the H5N2 virus does not affect humans and emphasized that the spread of HPAI is not a food safety issue. Poultry shipped from the Iowa facility were ordered over the Internet or by mail. Such birds are required to be tested for avian influenza prior to entering Georgia and their owners must have a certificate of veterinary inspection, Cobb said. Cobb said the H5N2 virus spread to poultry from contact with wild birds and their waste during wild bird northerly migration in the Mississippi, Central and Pacific flyways. Georgia is in the Atlantic flyway, which has yet to have any reported cases of HPAI. However, because the wild birds are commingling in the Arctic Tundra, there is a significant potential that HPAI will show up when they migrate south. Visit for more information on HPAI.

the state. More than 250 FFA students joined the Rebuilding Macon organization to scrape and repaint four area homes on April 23. Convention activities also included a food bank service project, a workshop on preparing for college, an FFA alumni leaders conference and workshops for ag teachers. FFA degrees were conferred to 686 members. Georgia Farm Bureau President Zippy Duvall spoke during the fifth general session on April 25, encouraging the FFA students to aim high. “You have a great opportunity in front of you and if you aim high, there’s no telling where FFA will take you, and whether you know it or not, you will make a difference in your life, your family’s life, and the people you meet and work with each and every day,” Duvall said. The Georgia FFA presented numerous awards, including the Georgia FFA Discussion Meet Career Development Event, which was sponsored by and coordinated by Georgia Farm Bureau. The organization elected its state officers for the 2015-2016 term. Avery Duncan of Franklin County was elected the state FFA president. Ian Bennett of Lowndes County was elected state secretary. They are joined by six vice presidents: South Region – Angel Rewis (Clinch County) and Christen Flowers (Brantley County); Central Region – Lucouis Hodges (Peach County) and Mary Kaitlyn Wheeler (East Laurens); North Region – Andy Kate McCannon (Oconee County) and Faith Gilman (East Jackson). FARM TOUR from page 16 place where tea is grown in North America. The tea is sold under the Charleston Tea Plantation/American Classic Tea label. The plantation dates back to 1963 when Lipton Tea planted a research plot with 320 varieties of Camellia Sinensis to see if tea could be grown in the area. During the harvest season, which runs from late May to mid-October, the plants are trimmed every 18-20 days using a mechanical harvester. The leaves are taken directly into the on-site factory to be processed the same day they are harvested. Georgia Farm Bureau News

Pictured from left are Georgia FFA Discussion Meet winner Brooks Fletcher, and the three competition finalists Rebecca Mulkey, Haley White and Caroline Waldrep. Georgia Farm Bureau sponsored the contest awarding Fletcher $250 and each of the three finalists $100.

The FFA Discussion Meet is patterned after Farm Bureau’s Young Farmer Discussion Meet and is designed to teach students the three fundamental bases of discussion: constructive criticism, cooperation and communication. Contestants are instructed to exchange ideas and information to solve a problem.

GFB 4th District Young Farmers meet

Georgia Farm Bureau 4th District Young Farmer Chairmen Josh Pennino and Skye Gess hosted a dinner for young farmers from the district at their Hancock County farm on April 18. The event gave the 30 young farmers attending a chance to get to know one another while sharing a meal and exchanging stories about their farms. Pennino and Gess gave a brief presentation about the GFB Young Farmer Program and encouraged the young farmers to attend the upcoming GFB Young Farmer Conference in July. Georgia Farm Bureau News

Georgia FFA officers visit GFB

Photo by Jennifer Whittaker

Mulkey, Waldrep and White advanced to the final four competition. GFB 5th District Young Farmer Committee Chairman Wayne McInvale moderated the final round of competition during which the contestants discussed whether farmers should be held liable for food-borne illnesses when the food item can be traced back to their farms.

Photo by Skye Gess

The Georgia Farm Bureau Young Farmer Committee sponsored the annual FFA Discussion Meet Career Development Event held April 24 during the 87th Georgia FFA Convention in Macon. Ten area winners from across Georgia competed in the event discussing the same topics used in the 2014 GFB Young Farmer Discussion Meet Competition. The area winners competing in the event were: Brooks Fletcher, Oconee County; Morgan Hart, Colquitt County; Cejay Heath, Treutlen County; Landon Herring, Lowndes County; Joseph James, Ware County; Rebecca Mulkey, Decatur County; Tanner Peebles, Emanuel County; Dustin Poole, Henry County; Caroline Waldrep, Monroe County; and Haley White, White County. GFB awarded the area winners $50 each. After two preliminary rounds, Fletcher,

Photo by Jennifer Whittakr

GFB YF Committee sponsors FFA Discussion Meet

The 2015-2016 Georgia FFA officers visited Georgia Farm Bureau June 8. GFB President Zippy Duvall, seated, poses with the officers during their tour of the GFB “Georgia Farm Monitor” studio. Pictured from left, are: Georgia FFA President Avery Duncan of Franklin County, Georgia FFA Vice Presidents Angel Rewis of Clinch County, Andy Kate McCannon of Oconee County, Lucouis Hodges of Peach County, Mary Kaitlyn Wheeler of Laurens County, Christen Flowers of Brantley County, Faith Gillman of Jackson County and Ian Bennett of Lowndes County. During their tour of the GFB home office, the FFA officers learned about GFB’s legislative, commodity, public relations, member services and Ag in the Classroom programs. The officers were interviewed by Georgia Farm Monitor staff and a story about their visit may be viewed on the Monitor’s YouTube channel at com/user/GeorgiaFarmMonitor. June-July 2015 / 23

Rep. Hice tours Washington County farms Rep. Jody Hice (R-10th District) visited Washington County on April 1 for a firsthand look at the county’s agriculture. Hice’s visit, organized by Washington County Farm Bureau (WCFB), included stops at one of the farm sites run by James, Jonathan, Jennifer and Waylon Hitchcock, and cattle and grain sites that are part of Veal Farms, run by Amber and Cale Veal. The tour closed with a forum at the Washington County Ag Center, where area farmers and agribusiness stakeholders voiced their concerns about federal policies. Following a fried fish dinner, Hice spoke to the group of more than 60 who attended. At the Hitchcock barn, where the Hitchcocks store farm equipment and host events, the Hitchcocks and WCFB President Sidney Law talked to Hice about the proposed “Waters of the U.S.” rule from the EPA and U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, detailed their experience of enrolling in 2014 farm bill crop insurance programs and shared their views on the federal estate tax. While at the Hitchcock farm site, James Hitchcock took Hice for a ride in the farm’s sprayer. The Hitchcocks grow corn and cotton and raise livestock on a total of 1,300 acres. Amber Veal talked with Rep. Hice and Georgia Farm Bureau President Zippy Duvall about her family’s cattle operation, leading a ride through pasture to see some of the family’s herd of cattle and then to one of the Veals’ fields of wheat. Veal emphasized to Hice that because farm inputs like water, herbicides and pesticides are costly, farmers pay great attention to how and FARMER from page 15 gia,” Angle said. “We need to continue to tell the message to all the young people in this state that this is a wonderful industry, that jobs are well-paying and you can have a great career because not only do you get a job quickly when you graduate out of an agricultural program, but you can go home at night and feel good about what you’ve 24 / June-July 2015

Photo by Jay Stone

By Jay Stone ___________________________________

Washington County farmer Amber Veal, center, shows a field of wheat to Rep. Jody Hice, right, and Georgia Farm Bureau President Zippy Duvall.

when they use those resources. “Agriculture is one of the biggest aspects of Georgia’s economy,” Hice said. “It’s the heart and soul of it really. There’s a soft spot in my heart for farmers and agriculture around the country, so getting out here in this is just a breath of fresh air, figuratively and literally. Farmers are facing some real challenges these days. It costs an enormous amount of money to be productive as a farmer and there are an enormous amount of challenges and obstacles for them, everything from financing their equipment to the weather.” Other event speakers included

Washington County Extension Agent Georgeanne Cook, GFB President Duvall, Queensboro Bank President Kevin Cobb, Seaboard Operating Company Manager Benji Tarbutton, local dairyman Emory Young, WCFB Director Glenn Waller, WCFB Women’s Committee Chair Rabun Waller, American Forestry Management Forester Jason Alexander, Danny Brown of AGrowStar, pecan grower C.J. Pulver and WCBF member Billy Helton. Hice heard about the importance of each sector of the agricultural industry and how federal policies affect each of them.

Brim, Clifton named to FSA State Committee

Bill Brim of Tift County and Dr. Ivery Clifton of Clarke County have been named to the Georgia Farm Service Agency State Committee according to a press release issued by Rep. Sanford Bishop. Both are Georgia Farm Bureau members. Brim manages Lewis Taylor Farms in Tift County, one of the largest vegetable and greenhouse operations in the Southeast. Clifton is a professor emeritus with the UGA College of Agricultural & Environmental Sciences and served as interim dean of the college from 1994 to 1995. Clifton also served as UGA’s Associate Vice President for Academic Affairs and taught agricultural economics. Members of the state FSA committee are responsible for the general oversight and direction of FSA operations. They also play a key role in keeping farmers informed of programs and activities, in addition to resolving appeals from the agricultural community.

done, because you’ve helped feed a hungry country and a hungry world.” The 11th annual Ag Week Kickoff event featured dozens of exhibits offering information and food samples from commodities produced in Georgia, allowing hundreds of visitors the chance to graze on a wide variety of meats, snacks and treats.


Effingham County farmer Bart Waller was incorrectly identified in the photo cutline and story about the 2015 Soybean/ Small Grains Expo in the April-May GFB News as Mark Waller. Waller won the Dryland Production Award in the 2014 Soybean Production Contest. The GFB News regrets the error. Georgia Farm Bureau News

Photo by Jennifer Whittaker

Perry, GFB Federation accounting director, retires with longest home office tenure By Jennifer Whittaker __________________________________________________________________________ Wayne Perry has crunched lots of numbers for Georgia Farm Bureau during his 43-year and two-month career with the organization, so it’s fitting that he retired in May with the longest tenure on record for a GFB Federation home office employee. Margaret Brown, former GFB corporate secretary, had 40 years of service when she retired in 1994. When Perry began his GFB career in 1972 as a mail clerk, GFB’s previous home office on Riverside Drive was just a year old, and he estimates there were only about 100 home office employees working for both the insurance company and federation. RUARK from page 17 than 100 years. Marvin and his brother Gene have been farming together for more than 50 years, and they have been joined in the family tradition by Marvin’s son, John, Gene’s son, Mark, and Marvin’s grandson, Andrew Ruark. Ruark has served as a member of the Georgia Boll Weevil Eradication Foundation since its inception, been a member of the Cotton Board, Cotton Incorporated and the National Cotton Council. He currently serves on the Board of Directors of Southern Cotton Growers. Marvin and his wife, Bebe, played key roles in the inception of the Bostwick Gin Festival, providing knowledge of the cotton industry as well as the centerpiece of the festival, the gin itself. Now in its 25th year, the Gin Festival provides a unique experience to the Morgan County Community. Georgia Farm Bureau News

The secret of his long career with Farm Bureau was simple, Perry said - come to work every day, mind your own business and stay out of trouble. “Like your Daddy would have told you, ‘Keep your nose clean.’ ” Perry worked full time at GFB while going to college at Macon State College and then Georgia College pursuing degrees in business and accounting. He climbed the ladder moving up from mail clerk to supply clerk, printer, computer operator and data processing shift supervisor. After Perry received his accounting degree, former GFB Insurance Company

General Manager Ken Miller offered him an accounting job with the insurance company. In 1990, the position of GFB Federation accounting manager became available, and Perry began overseeing the accounting duties for federation. In 1997 he was named director of federation accounting. As director of federation accounting, Perry and his staff provided county Farm Bureau offices with bookkeeping services that included preparing financial statements, handling tax deposits for county payroll, preparing the W-2s and tax returns for county Farm Bureau offices and administering the retirement plan for county Farm Bureau office managers. “I’m just glad I made it to retirement. It’s been a great place to work, and I’ve formed a lot of good relationships,” Perry said. “I’ve had good staff.” Perry said he doesn’t have any specific plans for retirement other than tackling a list of “honey-do chores” for his wife, Rhonda, who is the chief financial officer for Navicent Health, and spending more time with his adult twin daughters Sarah and Ashby, who work as nurses in Atlanta. An avid UGA football fan, Perry says he hopes to attend more road games now that he’s retired. “I’m not too worried about what I’m going to do. I’ll get to enjoy a football season without having to worry about preparing Farm Bureau’s annual budget or year end.”

Knowles named GFB assoc. director of federation accounting

Mike Knowles has been named Georgia Farm Bureau Associate Director of Federation Accounting. Knowles earned his bachelors’ degree in accounting from Georgia Southern in 1985. He began his career with GFB as a tax accountant in Farm Records Management in February 1993.  For the past 17 years, Mike has been manager of Federation Accounting. In addition to his 22-year tenure with GFB, Mike has experience with two Macon-area accounting firms.  Mike and his wife, Tammie, have been married for 22 years and have two sons: Hunter and Tyler. Mike succeeds Wayne Perry and will report to GFB Asst. Corporate Treasurer David Jolley. The Federation Accounting Department is responsible for all accounting functions of GFB Federation, GFB Incorporated, and GFB Holding Company, providing proper recording of transactions within these companies, financial statement preparation and budget worksheet for management use. The department also offers assistance to farmers in their records management, as well as offering services in bookkeeping, payroll forms printing, income tax preparation and tax planning.  June-July 2015 / 25

AROUND GEORGIA News from County Farm Bureaus Compiled by Jennifer Whittaker employee Jim Goslin, pictured, taught a class on electrical safety during the camp.

BACON COUNTY The Bacon County Farm Bureau (BCFB) Young Farmer Committee recently presented a program on tractor safety to about 100 local middle school FFA students. BCFB Vice President Corey Tyre, who grows hay, is pictured giving the students safety tips they should follow when using a tractor. BCFB Young Farmer Chairman Brandon Wade, introduced Cory Johnson, a local dairy farmer who provided the tractor, and Tyre.

BROOKS COUNTY Brooks County Farm Bureau held a BBQ dinner for the young farmers in its community March 27 at the Quitman Country Club. Georgia Farm Bureau Young Farmer Coordinator Jed Evans spoke to the group of young farmers about the importance of agriculture in Georgia and encouraged them to get involved with GFB’s Young Farmer Program. BCFB Young Farmer Chairman Clint Webb chaired the planning committee for the event attended by 35 guests.

CHEROKEE COUNTY Cherokee County Farm Bureau held its annual safety camp on April 29 at Free Home Elementary School for 160 third through fifth-grade students. The camp included classes on ATV, water, Internet, severe weather, animal and bike safety. Georgia Power 26 / June-July 2015

CLARKE COUNTY Clarke County Farm Bureau Intern Melea Baldwin spent 275 volunteer hours visiting a local first-grade class during the 20142015 school year. During her visits, Baldwin talked about the importance of agriculture and tied agriculture to whatever topic the students were learning that week. Baldwin also taught the students about what Farm Bureau does. She concluded her lessons by telling the students to “Thank a farmer!” To celebrate National Ag Day, March 18, Baldwin asked the students to sign a card thanking GFB Farm Bureau President Zippy Duvall for the work he does on behalf of Georgia farmers and county Farm Bureau offices.

COOK COUNTY Cook County Farm Bureau (CCFB) teamed up with FMC, a worldwide chemical company, to host an Ag Career Day for fifth through ninth-grade students at Community Christian Academy this spring.The students learned about different ag careers as they toured FMC’s research station in Cook County. During the tour, the students met a research entomologist, a research pathologist, research weed scientist and an agronomist/soil scientist. Each member of the FMC team talked to the students about their career paths, what it took to get where they are now and encouraged the students to continue their education. After touring the facility, the students, faculty, FMC employees and CCFB volunteers enjoyed a catered BBQ lunch. FRANKLIN COUNTY Franklin County Farm Bureau joined forces with AgGeorgia Georgia Farm Bureau News

Farm Credit and Ag-Pro to host a farm safety event March 28 in Carnesville designed to prevent farm accidents. These ag organizations were inspired to hold the event following the death last year of local farmer Andy Lalumia, who lost his life in a hay baler accident. The event included kid-friendly activities and speakers who gave tractor and implement demonstrations for adults. AgGeorgia Farm Credit donated a Yeti cooler to raise funds for the Georgia Farm Bureau Foundation for Agriculture. For every $10 donation an event attendee made, a ticket with their name was entered into a drawing for the cooler, which raised $440. Pictured from left, GFB District 2 Farm Bureau Young Farmer Chairs Will & Heather Cabe, Shelia Lalumia and Patricia Richardson, manager of the Ag Georgia Farm Credit Royston branch, present the donation made in memory of Andy Lalumia to GFB District 2 Field Rep. Clay Talton. The Cabes and Mrs. Lalumia worked to secure more than $6,000 in total donations that will be made to the foundation in memory of Mr. Lalumia.

GREENE COUNTY Greene County Farm Bureau President Larry Eley, standing center, along with Greene County Cooperative Extension Director David Daniel, standing right, presented a program to the Greene County Chamber of Commerce highlighting how agriculture impacts the county and how Farm Bureau, Cooperative Extension and FFA work together to educate and promote agriculture in the community. GCFB hosted the meeting at its office and provided lunch for the meeting.

HARRIS COUNTY Harris County Farm Bureau (HCFB) hosted a legislative farm tour in May for Georgia legislators. The tour visited the farms of Georgia Farm Bureau News

HCFB members Justin Jordan, Jim Fuller III, Alan Feagin and Gilbert Andrews. The tour gave the farmers a chance to discuss ag issues with their state officials. Participants in the tour included, from left, Georgia Reps. Richard Smith and Debbie Buckner, Laura Gower, regional director for U.S. Sen. Johnny Isakson, Georgia Sen. Joshua McKoon, HCFB President Gilbert Andrews, HCFB Director David Chambers, HCFB Young Farmer Justin Jordan, Harris County Extension Agent Steve Morgan, HCFB Member Jim Fuller III, HCFB Vice President Freddie Cone, HCBF Director Chad Kimbrough, HCFB member Alan Feagin and GFB 5th Dist. Field Rep. Cliff Bowden. The group is pictured at Jim Fuller’s farm where they learned about wheat production. HART COUNTY On March 20 Hart County Farm Bureau (HCFB) promoted National Agriculture Week at the Georgia Welcome Center located on I-85 at the Georgia/South Carolina line. Pictured from left, HCFB Director Tom McLane, his son, Jayce, HCFB Office Manager Angela Wood and HCFB Director Benson Saylors manned the booth from which they distributed peanut packets, Mayfield ice cream and milk, vegetable seed packets and brochures about farming. The booth highlighted soybean and cotton production and “My Plate is Georgia Grown” information.  

IRWIN COUNTY On March 19 Irwin County Farm Bureau (ICFB) helped host the Annual Irwin County Ag Day for local fifth-grade students. ICFB worked with the Irwin County Young Farmers Association and the Irwin County Extension Service to coordinate the event attended by 135 fifth-graders. Students rotated through 19 different exhibits covering a wide range of topics including conservation of natural resources, peanuts, cotton, pecans, poultry, livestock and honeybees. While touring the CASE farm, the students learned how grits are made from ground corn. They also sampled muscadine products and made grape juice slushies. After lunch, the children watched the documentary “Farmland.” Every student received an Ag Day tshirt and information about agriculture to take home to share with their parents. Continued on next page June-July 2015 / 27

Continued from previous page JONES COUNTY To celebrate National Agriculture Week, Jones County Farm Bureau (JCFB) Women’s Committee Chairman Teresa Chambers, right, and JCFB Office Manager Madge Ruff, left, hung 24 green bows on the doors of 10 local businesses and the homes of JCFB Directors. A sticker was placed on each bow to let people know it was for Ag Week. Thanks to David Ruff for making the bows.

LAMAR COUNTY Lamar County Farm Bureau Young Farmer Chairman Chanda Thompson visited the class of third-grade teacher Amanda Horne at Lamar County Elementary school to teach an Ag in the Classroom lesson. Thompson, seated, right, read the book “Who Grew My Soup?” She also led the students in doing a hands-on activity where they planted seeds in moistened cotton balls placed in the fingertips of a clear plastic  glove, which served as a mini-greenhouse. The students blew the gloves up, tied them off and placed them in the window seal to watch the seeds sprout. LUMPKIN COUNTY Lumpkin County Farm Bureau (LCFB) celebrated March being Peanut Month by holding a Peanut Butter & Jelly Day at its office on March 3. The LCFB Women’s Committee grilled peanut butter and jelly sandwiches for customers and took 25 sandwiches to the local senior center. LCFB Women’s Committee Chairman Judy Rodgers is pictured serving a sandwich to LCFB member Dave Harris. MITCHELL COUNTY Mitchell County Farm Bureau (MCFB) held an Ag Day May 6 attended by more than 300 third-grade students. The students rotated through multiple stations to learn about different aspects 28 / June-July 2015

of agriculture, natural resources and farm safety. MCFB Women’s Committee members Cindy Holton and Mandy Deloach, MCFB Young Farmer Committee Chairman Casey Cox and MCFB Office Manager Wanda Faircloth organized the event. GFB 9th District Women’s Committee Chairman Angie Durham hosted a booth about cotton production. MCFB member Cheryl Powell, pictured, talked to the students about barrel horse racing and caring for horses. Hollis Sanders, with CASE IH Tractor Co, brought a tractor the students could climb into and talked to the students about farm equipment. Calvin Perry, superintendent of the UGA C.M. Stripling Irrigation Park in Camilla, told the students about the irrigation research the center is doing to help farmers conserve water. PAULDING COUNTY Paulding County Farm Bureau co-hosted an Ag Expo with the Paulding County Chamber of Commerce on March 5. Many Paulding County agribusinesses had exhibits at the event that was attended by numerous local government officials. Georgia Agricultural Commissioner Gary Black spoke at the event. PCFB Office Manager Tracy Grice is pictured manning the PCFB exhibit that highlighted Georgia commodities and GFB membership information. PIKE COUNTY Pike County Farm Bureau (PCFB) teamed up with the Pike County Cooperative Extension to host their annual health fair on March 20. PCFB Director Steven Yerkes, left, and Pat Randolph, a volunteer with the Extension Service, right, registered attendees. About 200 people attended the event and visited the booths of the 39 exhibitors. PCFB Agency Manager Mack Brown spoke to attendees about long-term care insurance and estate planning. PCFB Women’s Committee Chairman Peggy Harned hosted a booth Georgia Farm Bureau News

that provided healthy snacks, drinks and coffee for attendees who had to fast for blood work. POLK COUNTY Polk County Farm Bureau (PCFB) participated in Career Day at Rockmart High School. PCFB Office Manager Sue Cuzzort is pictured manning the booth where she visited with the 368 students attending the event and told them about career opportunities agriculture and Farm Bureau offer. RICHMOND COUNTY Richmond County Farm Bureau Women’s Committee Chairman Marsha Rider, standing, taught classes at the 4-H Volunteer Conference of Southern States held at the Rock Eagle 4-H Center in Eatonton. Rider taught other 4-H volunteers to teach students about nutrition using a display featuring the USDA “Choose My Plate.”  She also displayed vegetables and fruits, giving facts about each.

TREUTLEN COUNTY Treutlen County Women’s Committee Chairman Laurianne Pullen, pictured, and GFB 6th Dist. Women’s Committee Chairman Kim Thompson, also a member of the TCFB Women’s Committee, visited kindergarten and second-grade classes at a local school to teach an Ag in the Classroom lesson about forestry including the many products made from trees, the fact that trees are renewable, and the economic contributions the industry makes to the county. Pullen and Thompson read the book “The Tree Farmer” by Georgia tree farmer Chuck Leavell. Each student received a tree seedling donated by the Georgia Forestry Commission to take home to plant.  WALKER COUNTY Walker County Farm Bureau (WCFB) participated in the Georgia Farm Bureau News

county’s Agriculture Day held May 1 at the Walker County Agriculture Center. About 900 third-grade students attended the event where high school FFA students and other ag groups hosted exhibits and gave demonstrations educating the students on a variety of agriculture topics. WCFB Office Manager Kyla Compton, center, and WCFB Women’s Committee Chairman Sonia Butler, right, talked to the students about soybeans and helped the students make a soybean seed necklace designed to let the students watch a seed sprout.

Ag Career & College Expo highlights ag jobs More than 300 ag students from high schools in Newton, Henry, Jasper and Butts counties had the chance to learn about potential careers in agriculture during the 3rd Annual Ag Career & College Expo held March 17 at the FFA Camp in Covington. The event, organized by the Newton County Farm Bureau, gave students the chance to meet with representatives of 12 colleges and representatives of 16 agribusinesses in Newton and surrounding counties. The Henry, Jasper and Butts County Farm Bureaus provided monetary donations to cover the cost for the students from their counties attending the event. Students attending the event rotated through three sessions. One session focused on career opportunities and gave the students a chance to meet with potential employers to learn about career options in agriculture and the education and training these jobs require. The second session featured colleges that offer ag degrees. During the third session, the students watched an abridged version of the documentary “Farmland” that shows a year in the life of six young farmers and their families from across the country. Colleges participating in the expo were the University of Georgia, University of North Georgia, Fort Valley State University, Athens Technical College, Abraham Baldwin Agricultural College, Middle Georgia State College, Clemson University, Troy University, Auburn University and South Georgia Tech/ John Deere Tech. June-July 2015 / 29

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The Georgia Agricultural Commodity Commission for Vegetables (ACCV) marketing order was approved by 92 percent of the eligible growers who cast ballots in a referendum held March 1-31, according to the Georgia Department of Agriculture. The new marketing order replaces the marketing order that failed to pass in a 2014 referendum due to a lack of returns. At least 25 percent of the ballots sent to eligible growers must be returned for a marketing order referendum to be valid according to the GDA. Thirty-three percent of eligible growers returned their ballots in this referendum the GDA said. An assessment of one cent ($0.01) per marketing unit will apply to producers who annually grow more than 50 combined acres of the following vegetables: bell peppers, specialty peppers, beans, broccoli, beets, cantaloupes, carrots, cucumbers, eggplants, greens, squash, sweet potatoes, and tomatoes produced for sale on the fresh market. The new marketing order took effect May 1 and is valid for three years. According to the GDA, it is the vegetable growers’ responsibility to see that the assessment is paid or is taken out of settlement for vegetables sold. Assessment funds received by the ACCV will fund research, education and promotion programs for the applicable crops.

Ga. Peanut Commission reaffirmed in referendum

Georgia peanut farmers who voted in the Georgia Peanut Commission (GPC) referendum held March 16-April 15 reaffirmed the commission with 92.41 percent voting to continue the GPC. “I appreciate the farmers’ confidence in the commission and we are committed to continue earning that confidence,” GPC Chairman Armond Morris said. “The commission continues to work together as a partnership between Georgia’s peanut farmers, the commission board and staff, in funding research projects to assist with increasing yield, promoting peanuts and working on the farmers’ behalf in Washington, D.C.” As required by Georgia state law, the state’s peanut farmers vote on the commission every three years. The ballots were mailed to peanut growers the week of March 16. The Certified Public Accounting firm of Allen, Pritchett and Bassett counted the returned ballots on April 28.  Georgia peanut farmers invest $2 per ton each year to the commission that is used in the program areas of research, education, promotion and communication. For additional information on the Georgia Peanut Commission visit www.

Photo by Andy Lucas

Ga. vegetable growers approve new marketing order

GDA, Ga. Organics to pay farmers’ cost to get USDA Organic Certification Georgia Organics and the Georgia Department of Agriculture (GDA) are launching a historic partnership called the 100 Organic Farms Campaign to help farmers take advantage of the rapidly growing organic market by providing funding and training for those who want to become USDA Certified Organic, according to a release from Georgia Organics. The campaign removes the financial barrier to USDA organic certification by reimbursing the full cost of organic certification up to $1,000 for farmers pursuing it for the first time. The GDA will fund 75 percent (up to $750) and Georgia Organics will provide the remaining 25 percent (up to $250). As the campaign’s title suggests, the goal is for Georgia to have 100 USDA Certified Organic farms by 2016. In addition to financial reimbursement, farmers who participate in the 100 Organic Farms campaign will also receive marketing assistance and access to workshops and online resources covering topics like business training, working with distributors and institutional buyers, and guidance on the certification process. 30 / June-July 2015

Organic food sales have risen by double-digit percentages since 2010, and demand for organic products is outpacing organic production. Nationwide sales of organic products jumped to $35.1 billion in 2013, up 11.5 percent from the previous year and the fastest growth rate in five years, according to the Organic Trade Association. According to the 2012 Census of Agriculture, Georgia has more than 42,000 farms, but only a fraction of a percent—approximately 70 farms—are certified as organic. Whole Foods Market has nine stores in Georgia, and they’ve increased their purchases from Georgia’s organic growers and food suppliers from $35,000 in 2007 to $560,000 in 2014 through October. As Whole Foods Market continues to grow both in Georgia and across the South, they are increasingly seeking organic agricultural products from the South. Customer demand for high-quality organic, especially for perishable items, currently greatly outstrips available supply from Georgia. Growers interested in signing up for the campaign can find more information at

Georgia Farm Bureau News

The Georgia Federal-State Shipping Point Inspection Service (GFSPIS) is working to improve the technology, efficiency and economics of its current grading procedure and equipment for peanuts. The GFSPIS is accepting applications until Nov. 2 from interested parties with the ability to design and make new grading equipment for farmers’ stock and re-grade peanuts. GFSPIS has been using its current peanut grading procedures and equipment, which is time consuming and labor intensive - for the past 70 years. “We believe there is a better way to grade peanuts, and we are willing to put forth the resources necessary to find it,” said GFSPIS President and CFO T.E. Moye. Dr. James Sutton, director of operations at the Georgia Department of Agriculture and chairman of the GFSPIS Board of Directors, has appointed a committee of 10 individuals representing all aspects of the peanut industry to oversee and administer the project. Grady County peanut

Sunbelt Expo Field Day July 9

farmer John Harrell has been named chairman of the New Grading Equipment and Procedures Committee. “This project will benefit all areas of the peanut industry,” Harrell said. “As peanut acreage continues to grow and peanut buying points continue to expand, the need for increased efficiency is warranted to meet the demand.” For more information or to submit an application to design a new peanut grading system, contact Mallory Black at 229-4326201 ext. 107 or GFSPIS has served the agriculture industry since 1927. It inspects more than 35 commodities including peanuts, fresh fruits and vegetables, and pecans. The organization provides an impartial and accurate third-party service to the agricultural community. The use of the GFSPIS ensures Georgia’s reputation as a supplier of superior agricultural products. GFSPIS currently staffs 120 employees and will hire about 800 more employees for the 2015 farmers’ stock peanut season.

Farmers will get a chance to see the crops and research projects being conducted at Expo’s Darrell Williams Research Farm during this free event. Registration for door prizes begins at 7:15 a.m. followed by a free biscuit breakfast and welcome from Georgia Farm Bureau and Georgia Department of Agriculture representatives. Trams will depart for field tours at 8 a.m. sharp. University researchers and representatives from 30 of the top ag companies will provide the latest information on soil fertility, weed management, crop protection products, water management and irrigation and seed variety trials for cotton, peanut, corn and soybeans. Tours will end by noon followed by a barbecue lunch courtesy of Ameris Bank. Beginning at 12:30 p.m., trams will transport interested attendees to the runway where Thrush Aircraft and Eagles Vista will showcase the latest aerial application equipment. The Expo is located southeast of Moultrie on Ga. Hwy. 133. Visit or call 229-985-1968 for more information. Georgia Farm Bureau News

Photo by Andy Lucas

Ga. Federal-State Inspection Service accepting applications to redesign peanut grading equipment

Devane attends Pork Act Assembly

Randolph County hog farmer Dania Devane served as a delegate to the Pork Act Delegate assembly held March 5-7 in San Antonio, Texas. Devane, who is a member of the Georgia Farm Bureau Swine Committee, was appointed as a delegate by U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack. Georgia Pork Producers Association President Mark Clemmer was also appointed. Devane was one of 155 delegates from 42 states to represent pork producers and importers who sell pork products in the U.S. The duties of a delegate body include nominating members to serve on the National Pork Board, establishing how much of the Pork Checkoff is returned to state pork organizations and providing direction on the promotion, research and education programs funded by the Pork Checkoff. June-July 2015 / 31

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Georgia Farm Bureau News - June / July 2015