Page 1

Vol. 77 No.3



June-July 2017

table of

contents june/july 2017

departments view from the field PAGE 4

public policy: governmental affairs update PAGE 5

public policy: ag programs update PAGE 11

around georgia

PAGES 26-29

young farmer update PAGE 30

GFB News staff Andy Lucas Director Jennifer Whittaker Editor Jay Stone Print/Web Specialist Lillian Davis Publications/Advertising Manager Nicollette Boydstun Multimedia Graphic Designer Michael Edmondson Web/Video Manager Lauren Lin PR Communications Specialist For information concerning advertising, contact Wendy McFarland at 334-652-9080 or 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

Georgia Farm Bureau looks back over 80 years

In June, GFB placed a marker on the grounds of the Bartow County Courthouse to commemorate the meeting held there June 17, 1937, that led to the formation of Georgia Farm Bureau. A reception to celebrate GFB’s 80th anniversary was held June 21. PAGE 6

New Ag Secretary Perdue addresses GFB county leaders

GFB’s annual Presidents’ Trip to Washington coincided with Sonny Perdue being sworn in as the U.S. Secretary of Agriculture. GFB members also met with Georgia’s Congressional delegation to discuss ag issues. PAGE 8

GFB Farm Tour highlights Ga. produce farms

Fruit and vegetable farms in South Georgia were showcased during the GFB Farm Tour. Many of the stops were GFB Certified Farm Markets. PAGE 10

Pecan conference spotlights new variety, tree insurance & American Pecan Council

Learn about the new UGA pecan variety, Avalon, the new crop insurance program for pecan trees and the status of the American Pecan Council. PAGE 12

GFB Field Reps. Lane & Murray reminisce about GFB

Former GFB 1st District Field Rep. Roby Murray and GFB 3rd Dist. Field Rep. Ricky Lane retired this spring. They shared their memories of GFB and their careers with us. PAGE 14

GFB says goodbye to career employees

Georgia Farm Bureau said goodbye to career employees in May who often worked behind the scenes serving our county staff, volunteers & members. Join us in celebrating the contributions Vickie Amos, Marilyn Clarke, Kathy Covington and Sandy Smith made to GFB. PAGE 16

FVSU event serves up Ham & Eggs, research & government

The annual Fort Valley State University Ham & Egg Legislative Breakfast highlighted the state budget and research the university is conducting. PAGE 18

Georgia Cattlemen’s Convention spotlights all things beef

Forage research, calving tips and presentation of GCA awards were highlights of the annual meeting. PAGE 20

Ag news briefs

Get a status update on what the USDA is doing to adjust the grading score used to classify farmer stock peanuts, disaster designations from the March freeze and spring drought, & meet the Vidalia Onion Committee’s annual award winners. PAGE 22

High school students sketch ag scenes to win GFB Art Contest prizes

GFB has named the state and district winners of its annual art contest.


about the cover-------------------------------------------------

(Photo by Stephanie Spear ) McDuffie County Farm Bureau member Stephanie Spear shot this photo of her and her husband, James', then 15-month-old daughter, Kylie, last year on the farm of her in-laws, McDuffie County Farm Bureau Directors Jay & Patsy Spear, who entered it in the 2016 GFB Photo Contest. June-July 2017/ 3

view from the field Gerald Long, GFB President

After 80 years, GFB still serving as Voice of Georgia Farmers I imagine Thursday, June 17, 1937, was a hot Georgia day when the group of farmers from seven northwest Georgia counties met at the Bartow County Courthouse to create an organization to represent farmers. Franklin Delano Roosevelt was in the White House, and E.D. Rivers was Georgia’s governor. Two of the country’s most powerful senators - Sens. Richard B. Russell and Walter F. George - represented Georgia in the U.S. Senate. Georgia farmers had attempted to create a statewide organization to represent their interests before 1937 but none lasted. This time it worked, which is why we still talk about it today. The organization that became Georgia Farm Bureau in 1941 can be traced back to the farmers who left their fields in 1937 to meet at the Bartow County Courthouse. On June 21, GFB held a celebration to commemorate our 80th anniversary. We don’t have much information about the 1937 meeting, but it’s safe to assume they weren’t as comfortable as we were meeting in an air-conditioned conference center. Our founders had a vision and determination that led them to success. Their vision for a farm organization was based on their need. They had suffered The Great Depression for years, and in four short years, World War II would explode. Through it all, their vision of an organization to represent farmers kept them going. Today, we continue to work with that vision. A new farm bill is on the horizon, and Farm Bureau is here to be “The Voice of Georgia Farmers.” On June 24, I testified on behalf of GFB at a listening session the U.S. House Agriculture Committee held in Gainesville, Florida. My testimony was based on GFB policy approved by our voting members. The testimony I gave on behalf of GFB 4 / June-July 2017

emphasized the importance of timely passage of a new farm bill that works for all segments of agriculture across the country. I discussed the need for a strong crop insurance program and stressed the need for good commodity programs. Environmental conservation has become a major part of the farm bill, and Farm Bureau supports the Environmental Quality Incentives Program, Conservation Stewardship Program, and Conservation Reserve Program. We also mentioned the importance of the Livestock Forage Program (LFP) for producers who suffer drought. In addition to the farm bill, water continues to be an issue for Georgia farmers. Farmers must have timely access to water because our livelihood depends on it, and GFB continues to represent farmers on this issue. On Aug. 3, GFB will hold our annual commodity conference. This conference kicks off GFB’s policy development process as our 20 commodity committees discuss issues impacting their farms. Their recommendations will be considered by the GFB Policy Development Committee in the fall. Getting this grassroots input straight from our farmer members is one of the reasons GFB has been an effective organization for Georgia agriculture for 80 years. The founders needed Farm Bureau back in 1937. We need Farm Bureau today, and our descendants will need Farm Bureau in the future. That’s why it’s important all Georgia farmers be involved with Farm Bureau so our organization can continue to effectively serve as the Voice of Georgia Farmers. If you’re a farmer and aren’t a Farm Bureau member please join us today. If you are a member but have a neighbor who isn’t please ask them to join!




Farm Bureau Members: Included in dues — $1 per year Non-Members — $15 per year To subscribe call 1-800-898-1911, ext. 5237.


President GERALD LONG, Bainbridge 1st Vice President and Middle Georgia Vice President ROBERT FOUNTAIN JR., Adrian North Georgia Vice President BERNARD SIMS, Ringgold South Georgia Vice President DANIEL JOHNSON, Alma General Counsel DUKE GROOVER Chief Financial Officer & Corp. Treasurer DAVID JOLLEY Chief Administrative Officer & Corp. Secretary JON HUFFMASTER

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; Matt Bottoms, Molena 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, Newton; Paul Shirah, Camilla TENTH DISTRICT: Lamar Vickers, Nashville; David Lee, Alma YOUNG FARMER CHAIRMAN: Mitchell Pittman, Lyons WOMEN’S COMMITTEE CHAIR: Rhonda Williams, Clayton


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 Wendy McFarland at 334-652-9080 or Georgia Farm Bureau News was established in 1937. Copyright 2017 by the Georgia Farm Bureau Federation. Printed by Panaprint, Macon, Georgia.

Georgia Farm Bureau News

public policy update By Alex Bradford, State Affairs Coordinator

Georgia's 2017 Legislative Session a good one for ag It has been an exciting year as the political landscape has adjusted to the outcome of the 2016 elections, which brought a renewed look at policy practices and regulations. While many of these changes impact federal policy, it is evident Georgia is seeing its own influx of new priorities. A new, two-year legislative session began this year leading into major state elections in 2018. We have also seen a rejuvenation of activity in our rural communities that has not gone unnoticed by our elected officials. These times of change often yield opportunities, and the agriculture community is poised to benefit. This year’s legislative session seemed to be busier than recent years despite news headlines indicating gridlock over some of our recurring hot-button issues like medical marijuana, campus carry and chronically failing schools. Although passing a balanced budget is the only constitutionally required responsibility Georgia’s General Assembly is charged with, legislators debated 950 bills during the 40-day legislative session and passed 284 of these. Gov. Deal then had until May 9 to veto any bills passed, of which nine will not become law. Many victories for Georgia’s agriculture sector were among those signed into law.

Livestock Producer Protection

Farm Bureau pursued two key pieces of legislation this year surrounding livestock and animal issues that provide protection for producers in various facets. HB 50, a GFB Priority Issue several years in the works sponsored by Rep. Clay Pirkle (R-Ashburn), was signed into law on May 8. This bill gives producers liability protection from inherent risks of participating in livestock activities when visitors are on the farm. The hope is this protection will allow producers to encourage participation and promote education about agriculture, especially among 4-H and FFA students. As more people become removed from the farm, coupled with an increased interest in where their food comes from, it is important that we provide consumers access to accurate, realistic education of farming practices. Unfortunately, we sometimes see this lack Georgia Farm Bureau News

of experience and misinformation lead to criticism of common farming practices. This can result in a well-intentioned person causing devastating harm to a producer’s operation. Recognizing this potential threat and to better protect both producers and their livestock, GFB is working with Sen. Bill Heath (R-Bremen) on the passage of SB 257. This bill will require law enforcement officials to consult with the State Veterinarian and the Georgia Department of Agriculture before filing charges of livestock abuse. By involving an expert in the initial stages of an investigation, the officer can make an informed response to protect the health of the livestock and protect the farmer from misguided allegations. While this bill did not receive a vote this year, Farm Bureau will continue to work toward its passage.

Forgiveness program, incentivizing practice in rural underserved areas.

Although the state budget process is finalized in the 40-day session, it is a months-long collaboration between agencies, the governor’s office and the General Assembly. The FY18 budget reached a record $25 billion and included several items that will impact Georgia farms. The Georgia Soil & Water Conservation Commission (GSWCC) was reorganized to move the agriculture water metering program under the administration of the Environment Protection Division and consolidate the regional offices into the main Athens office. The Georgia Department of Agriculture received funds for 11 additional food safety, plant and animal industry positions and funds to expand the Georgia Grown building at the Georgia National Fairgrounds and Agricenter. Following last year’s generous budget for University of Georgia system agriculture priorities, this year the budget focused mostly on maintenance and operations including: $4.12 million for the UGA Experiment Station operations, two field services clinical veterinarians dedicated to food animals, an additional lab supervisor and lab technician for the Poultry Diagnostic Research Lab, and funds for the UGA Poultry Science Research facility. The General Assembly also continued funds for the Food Animal Veterinarian Loan

Sometimes the most important victories are not the bills passed but rather those prevented. After several years of the Georgia Agricultural Tax Exemption (GATE) program being scrutinized, the recent education efforts and addition of both Department of Agriculture and Department of Revenue enforcement measures have tapered the appetite to make legislative changes to the program for now. It is crucial that GATE card holders and retailers familiarize themselves with its appropriate use and report any cases of abuse to keep the program intact. Overall, it was a successful year for Georgia agriculture under the Gold Dome. While your GFB staff tends to the daily grind, GFB’s strength has always been with its members and your participation with your county Farm Bureau. We are most effective when members directly interact with their elected officials . The GFB Public Policy department offers our services and resources to help facilitate these communications and encourages you to remain active throughout the year. To keep up to date with ongoing events, please visit us on Facebook @SupportGaFarmers or on the GFB Action Center website. Alex Bradford is the GFB Public Policy Department State Affairs Coordinator.

FY18 Budget Appropriations

Rural Development

In a refreshing change of focus, the General Assembly turned to the rural communities that support our state’s largest industry, agriculture. While many metro counties have recovered from the recession, rural Georgia seems to remain stagnant. House Speaker David Ralston established the Rural Development Council, HR 389, to study and recommend solutions that will foster economic growth. The group is scheduled to hold 10 meetings across the state. GFB will be present at each of these meetings and encourages you to participate when meetings are held in your area. Additional information will be posted to the GFB Action Center at once the meetings are scheduled.

Agriculture Tax Programs

June-July 2017/ 5

Photo by Jay Stone

Three generations of descendants of Robert Stiles, a driving force in the formation of the United Georgia Farmers, which later became Georgia Farm Bureau, attended the GFB Founders’ Day event. Pictured from left are: Stiles’ granddaughter Mary

Knight, great-grandson Dyer Kennedy, grandson Frederick Knight, daughter Margaret Knight, great-grandson Robert Kennedy, niece Susan Alexander and great-granddaughter Bess Womack.


Georgia Farm Bureau looks back over years


By Jay Stone _____________________________________________________________________________

Photo from GFB archives

B Robert M. Stiles, a World War I veteran and farmer from southwest Bartow County, who organized the June 17, 1937, meeting of farmers from Bartow, Cherokee, Cobb, Gordon, Floyd, Polk and Paulding counties at the Bartow County courthouse. 6 / June-July 2017

artow County is on the northern edge of the Atlanta Metropolitan Statistical Area, now one of the 10 largest metro areas in the United States. But in 1937, it was a farming community like just about everywhere else in Georgia, and it served as the jumping-off point for what became Georgia Farm Bureau (GFB), the state’s largest general farm organization. “I think our organization has stood the test of time,” said GFB President Gerald Long. “Through the years, we’ve never strayed from our original mission – to serve

as the voice of Georgia farmers. Not only have our farmer members benefitted from the work we’ve done to represent them, but so have consumers, who have access to healthy, locally grown food, cotton for clothes and timber that provides wood for houses, clean air and wildlife habitat.” GFB had a monument placed on the grounds of the Bartow County Courthouse Georgia Farm Bureau News

to commemorate the initial meeting that took place in 1937 and led to the formation of the organization. On June 21, GFB marked its 80th anniversary with a reception and ceremony at the Clarence Brown Conference Center in Cartersville. The event drew approximately 150 people, many of them Farm Bureau members, who heard remarks from UGA College of Agricultural & Environmental Sciences Dean Sam Pardue and Georgia Commissioner of Agriculture Gary Black. “We have had a great partnership with Georgia Farm Bureau,” said Pardue, who was invited as an acknowledgement of GFB’s long-standing relationship with the UGA Cooperative Extension Service. “When those folks gathered and created this organization, I suspect they never thought it would be what it has become today. What we should strive for, for our legacy, is 80 years from Georgia Farm Bureau News

now, people will look back and reflect on the things we did in this generation to position this organization to be successful.” Robert M. Stiles, a World War I veteran and farmer who lived in southwest Bartow County, met with farmers from Cherokee, Cobb, Gordon, Floyd, Polk and Paulding counties on June 17, 1937, at the Bartow County courthouse. They resolved to form the United Georgia Farmers, the forerunner of what is now Georgia Farm Bureau. Six weeks later, on July 31, 1937, a group of 50 farmers from 25 Georgia counties met at the Ansley Hotel in Atlanta and officially formed the United Georgia Farmers, which aimed to be involved in county, state and national affairs in the pursuit of equal opportunity for farmers and raising their standard of living. Stiles was selected as the organization’s first president, heading a slate of officers

Photo by Andy Lucas

Photo by Jay Stone

Georgia Farm Bureau leadership with the marker the organization placed at the Bartow County Courthouse to commemorate the meeting held there June 17, 1937, that led to the formation of GFB. From left are: GFB South Georgia Vice President Daniel Johnson; Bartow County Farm Bureau President Dean Bagwell; GFB President Gerald Long; GFB 1st Vice President Robert Fountain Jr. and GFB North Georgia Vice President Bernard Sims.

that included W.D. McClure of Acworth, T.R. Breedlove of Monroe, T.B. Thornton of Hartwell and J.F. Alexander of Louisville. Seven members of Stiles’ family, representing three generations, attended the 80th anniversary celebration. Black, whose first job after college was with GFB, encouraged the organization’s members to cherish their inherited legacy while continuing to build on it. “We can have good memories, but we have to pay that forward and we have to remind ourselves what the future holds,” Black said. “We’ve got to pledge to ourselves today and remind each other that our work is not done.” United Georgia Farmers became affiliated with the American Farm Bureau Federation in 1939, and in 1941 adopted Georgia Farm Bureau as its name. From the original 50 farmers, GFB has grown to a statewide membership of more than 300,000 families. June-July 2017 / 7

Sonny Perdue confirmed, sworn in as agriculture secretary Former Georgia Gov. Sonny Perdue was sworn in as the 31st U.S. Secretary of Agriculture by fellow Georgian and Associate Justice of the U.S. Supreme Court Clarence Thomas in a brief ceremony held April 25 at the Supreme Court building in Washington, D.C. The U.S. Senate confirmed Secretary Perdue by an 87-11 vote on April 24. After Perdue took the oath of office, he addressed employees at the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) before beginning his first day of work. The USDA launched Perdue’s official Twitter handle: @SecretarySonny.  “The only legacy that I seek is the only one that any grandparent or parent seeks – to be good stewards, and to hand off our nation, our home, our fields, our forests, and our farms to the next generation in better shape than we found it,” Perdue said. “Making sure that Americans who make their livelihoods in the agriculture industry have the ability to thrive will be one of my top priorities. I am committed to serving the customers of USDA, and I will be an unapologetic advocate for American agriculture.” Perdue spoke to a group of Georgia Farm Bureau members on April 26, the day after he was sworn in. “Georgia is a very diverse agricultural state, so Secretary Perdue’s proven experience in working with our commodities will help him in making a smooth transition into his role as Secretary of Agriculture,” said GFB President Gerald Long. “He’s very knowledgeable on both crop production and livestock production, and he has a wealth of experience in international trade. I think his confirmation presents Georgia farmers with a huge opportunity to be heard in Washington in a way they never have before.” According to a USDA press release, Perdue’s policies will be guided by four principles. First, he will maximize the abil8 / June-July 2017

Photo courtesy of USDA

By Jay Stone ___________________________________

U.S. Supreme Court Associate Justice Clarence Thomas, right, administered the oath of office to Sonny Perdue as he became the 31st U.S. Secretary of Agriculture on April 25. Perdue’s wife, Mary, held the family Bible for the ceremony at the U.S. Supreme Court Building.

ity of America’s farmers and agribusiness owners to create jobs, to produce and sell the foods and fiber that feed and clothe the world, and to reap the earned reward of their labor. Second, he will prioritize customer service every day for American taxpayers and consumers. Third, USDA will continue to ensure the food we put on the table to feed our families meets the strict safety standards USDA has established. And fourth, Perdue will always remember

that America’s agricultural bounty comes directly from the land. “There’s important work ahead for the secretary, and he’ll need to address these challenges against the backdrop of the biggest drop in farm prices and income we’ve seen in decades,” AFBF President Zippy Duvall said. “Just like America’s farmers and ranchers, I know Secretary Perdue isn’t afraid of a hard day’s work. We are confident he is the right man for the job at hand.”

Jones joins GFB Public Policy team

Reneé Jones joined the Georgia Farm Bureau team as office coordinator for the Public Policy Department on May 15. Prior to coming to GFB, Jones was employed with Whiddon Wealth Management in Albany as an administrative/marketing assistant for two years; as the communications manager, office manager and event coordinator for Chem Nut Incorporated in Leesburg for 15 years and previously worked for almost nine years at Vesta/Shelby Insurance in Ohio. Reneé Jones “We are excited to have Reneé join our team and believe she brings the experience and skills we were looking for,” GFB President Gerald Long said.   A native of Mansfield, Ohio, Jones and her husband, Chip, have lived in Georgia for 17 years. They have an adult daughter, Sandra. Georgia Farm Bureau News

These county Farm Bureau leaders from GFB’s 4th & 6th Districts were part of the GFB group that traveled to Washington in April to meet with Georgia’s U.S. Congressional delegation and discuss ag issues.

By Jay Stone __________________________________________________________________________


Photo by Jay Stone

day after being sworn in as the U.S. tee. “But don’t just write to me. Write to Secretary of Agriculture, Sonny Per- congressmen in other states and let them due spoke to Georgia Farm Bureau know your views on agricultural issues.” members in Washing Duvall called for ton, D.C., on April 26, farmers to be united part of the annual GFB and engage with electCounty Presidents’ ed officials. Trip to D.C. “The strength and Perdue pledged to power of our organizarun the USDA efficienttion doesn’t lie with me ly and acknowledged or with Gerald [GFB important issues facing President Long]. It American farmers. lies with you,” Duvall “We’re going to said, urging farmers to work hard to make maintain contact with sure that agriculture is Agriculture Secretary Sonny Per- elected officials. “If we due spoke to the Georgia Farm Buacknowledged and rec- reau group during the annual GFB disengage at this point ognized for the industry County Presidents’ Trip to D.C. in history, we’ll have a that it is,” said Perdue. disaster.” “You hear a lot of people talking about County Farm Bureau presidents from manufacturing and the demise of manufac- across Georgia traveled to D.C. to meet turing. We do have some manufacturing with members of Georgia’s congressional challenges in some places, but I’d submit delegation and AFBF staff during the trip. to you that agriculture is one of the finest, The GFB group delivered the organizamost natural manufacturing organizations, tion’s stance on immigration and labor, tax and it has been the most productive over reform, federal regulation, the next farm the last 75 years in this country.” bill and agricultural trade. American Farm Bureau Federation AFBF staff, including AFBF Executive (AFBF) President Zippy Duvall and Sen. Director for Public Policy Dale Moore, met David Perdue also spoke at the April 26 with the GFB group prior to their meetings breakfast, encouraging farmers to stay ac- on Capitol Hill to share Farm Bureau’s native in voicing their concerns about agricul- tional positions on the issues. tural issues. Dr. John Newton, AFBF director of mar “Georgia is an agricultural state and ket intelligence, reviewed efforts on key topwe need to hear from you,” said Sen. Per- ics of discussion during the development of due, a member of the Senate Ag Commit- the next farm bill. He pointed out the inefGeorgia Farm Bureau News

Photo by Tas Smith

Photo by Jay Stone

New Ag Secretary Perdue addresses GFB county leaders

fectiveness of the dairy and cotton provisions under the current farm bill. He also noted the importance of the nutrition portion of the farm bill, saying it is crucial to gaining support of lawmakers from urban districts in getting the farm bill passed. AFBF Senior Director of Congressional Relations Dave Salmonsen discussed trade issues likely to be taken up by the Trump administration, particularly as they relate to U.S. agricultural trade with Canada and Mexico. The Trump Administration has since begun renegotiating the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA). “The thing we mostly don’t want is to have anyone charging new tariffs,” Salmonsen said.  AFBF Senior Director of Congressional Relations Pat Wolff talked about tax issues the organization would like to see addressed in any tax reform package. Wolff said any new tax package should address the effective tax rate, lower the capital gains tax, expand section 179 deductions and would ideally eliminate the death tax. AFBF Director of Congressional Relations Kristi Boswell discussed the need to fix the country’s broken immigration system, saying that while AFBF supports increased border security, intensifying immigration enforcement activities are having a chilling effect on the nation’s migrant workforce. “We can’t risk losing 50-70 percent of our workers because of stepped up enforcement,” Boswell said. “There is a lot of anxiety on the ground within our farmers and within our workers.”

GFB President Gerald Long, right, visits with Sen. Johnny Isakson in D.C. June-July 2017/ 9

GFB Farm Tour highlights Ga. produce farms

GFB members watch sweet corn being harvested at Green Circles Farms in Decatur County. Immediately after being harvested, the corn is placed in a pre-cooler that rapidly cools the corn to 34 degrees Fahrenheit to prolong its shelf life.

Photo by Kelly Thompson

By Jay Stone ______________________________

said GFB President Gerald Long, whose Decatur County you-pick farm was featured on the tour. “We’re one of the unusual states in the nation in that we grow everything.” At Bob and Jim McLeod Farms in Wilcox County the group saw the McLeods’ cantaloupe production. The tour stopped in Turner County at Calhoun Produce for a look at the Calhouns’ roadside market and agritourism venue. Southern Grace Farms in Berrien County, run by Berrien County Farm Bureau Vice President Tim McMillan, showed off its retail store and cultivation of

Photo by Dana Nunnery

More than 50 Georgia Farm Bureau members from around the state and a group of teachers sampled large-scale vegetable production Southwest Georgia style during the 2017 GFB Farm Tour held June 6-8 with stops in the organization’s 8th, 9th and 10th districts. The tour visited multiple you-pick farms, Certified Farm Markets and a massive pre-cooler that conditions corn as soon as it is harvested at stops in Berrien, Colquitt, Decatur, Turner and Wilcox counties. “I think the most important thing is it shows the diversity we have in the state,”

Pictured from left, GFB Certified Farm Market Coordinator Kelly Thompson, Kelli & Justin Long & Gerald & Janice Long visit during the tour stop at the Long Farm, which has been a member of the GFB Certified Farm Market program since it began in the 1980s. 10 / June-July 2017

blackberries using moveable trellises. The group visited Southern Valley Farms in Colquitt County, a commercialscale vegetable farm that also has locations in Tennessee and Mexico. “This was a vegetable tour that showed the importance of vegetable production to Georgia’s ag economy and highlighted the importance of farmers having access to adequate water supplies to grow the vegetables consumers need.” Long said. At Green Circles Farm in Decatur County, the group saw how the farm’s precooler rapidly cools sweet corn just out of the field to prolong its shelf life. Long said that by the time the corn finishes the precooling process its temperature is 34 degrees Fahrenheit and it is ready to be stored to await shipping. At Lauri Jo’s in Colquitt County, the group learned about the company’s canning operation, sales of jellies and salsas and how it has grown to nationwide distribution. During the farm tour, the group was joined by teachers touring with GFB Ag In the Classroom Coordinator Donna Rocker and GFB Foundation for Agriculture Executive Director Katie Gazda. “A highlight of the tour, was having those teachers be with us and seeing the different things we saw, the interaction between the Farm Bureau members and the teachers,” Long said. Georgia Farm Bureau News

Photo by Joe McManus

GFB accepting nominations for its commodity committees until Aug. 18

Members of the GFB Forestry Committee visited the Interfor mill in Perry on May 23.

GFB Commodity committees hold spring meetings


uses about 320 truckloads of logs a week and produces about 150 loads of lumber a week. The bark and shavings are used to heat the kilns, which dries the wood. Interfor’s Perry mill employs 130 people. The GFB Beef Cattle Committee met March 31 during the Georgia Cattlemen’s Association and Expo in Perry. The GFB Feedgrain/Soybean Committee met at the Flint Hills Resources Camilla Ethanol Plant. The plant buys grain and produces ethanol, corn oil, corn syrup and three varieties of distillers grains. The committees will meet again Aug. 3 at the GFB Commodity Conference and proposed changes to GFB policy will be voted on by delegates at the GFB Convention in December.

Photo by Nathan Dupree

eorgia Farm Bureau’s commodity advisory committees met this spring to make recommendations for changes to organizational policy affecting their crops and farms. While most of the committees met at the GFB home office in Macon, some combined their meetings with tours of facilities or events related to their commodities. The GFB Forestry Committee toured the Interfor mill in Perry on May 23. Interfor has seven locations in Georgia. The Perry location is a sawmill and remanufacturing mill that uses pine logs to produce lumber with the latest high efficiency techniques. Most of the raw timber comes from within 60 miles of the mill, which

]The GFB Feedgrain/Soybean Committee met at Flint Hills Resources Camilla Ethanol Plant on March 7. Georgia Farm Bureau News

Georgia Farm Bureau (GFB) is taking nominations for spots on its 20 commodity advisory committees. These committees serve in an advisory capacity to the GFB president, board of directors and staff to implement Farm Bureau policy. They also make recommendations to the GFB Policy Development Committee relative to their commodities. Every GFB Commodity Committee has a representative from each of GFB’s 10 districts. Committee members must produce the commodity their committee represents. The commodities for which GFB has committees are: aquaculture; beef cattle; cotton; dairy; direct marketing/agritourism; environmental horticulture; equine; feedgrain/soybean; forestry; fruit; goats and sheep; hay; honeybee; peanut; pecan; poultry; swine; tobacco; vegetable and water. All counties within each district may nominate members to serve on a GFB Commodity Committee for a one-year term. Every county is encouraged to review their candidates and make nominations to each commodity that is applicable. Please remember that a person can only be nominated to serve on one committee.  The chairperson will be appointed for a one-year term, and will serve on the GFB Policy Development Committee. Nomination forms should be submitted and received no later than Aug. 18. For more information contact Cindy Arnold in the GFB Public Policy Department at or 478-4740679, ext. 5217.  June-July 2017/ 11

Photo by Jennifer Whittaker

ing scab resistance in a variety of environments,” Conner said. Conner is monitoring the variety for susceptibility to black aphids and has found it to rate in the middle when compared to other varieties. The yield of Avalon increases consistently as the tree matures, Conner said. Eleven-year-old trees had a yield of 92 pounds per tree, Conner said. “In general the productivity looks good. It seems to be better than Desirable but not as good as Byrd,” Conner said. The kernel rating scale for pecans ranges from 1 to 5 with 1 being the lowest score and 5 being the highest. Conner said Avalon gets a 4.8 because it shells easily and has a standard kernel color that’s not too dark or light. The bud burst date is around April 6, which should allow the variety to avoid freeze damage in most of Georgia, Conner said. Savage Equipment General Manager Billy Brown, far left, talks to Houston County pecan growers Keith Dent, second from left, and Josh Dent, in bucket, about the pecan pruner/hedger displayed at the Georgia Pecan Growers Association Conference & Trade Show held March 29 in Tifton. To view more event photos visit

Pecan conference spotlights new variety, tree insurance & APC By Jennifer Whittaker __________________________________________________________________________


ot topics at the 52nd Annual Georgia Pecan Growers Association (GPGA) Conference & Trade Show included the introduction of a new pecan variety, an overview of crop insurance for pecan trees and a status update of the new American Pecan Council. About 850 people attended the event held March 29 in Tifton. GPGA President Jeb Barrow announced that the organization is teaming up with the Georgia Pecan Commission to create an e-commerce platform to market Georgia pecans to Chinese consumers who buy large portions of their food on the internet. “It’s not about shipping more pecans into China, but to market Georgia pecan products to our Chinese customers,” Barrow said. “This is a pilot program and is a true partnership between the Georgia Pecan Commission and Georgia Pecan Growers Association and the Georgia De12 / June-July 2017

partment of Agriculture as well.”

UGA unveils Avalon variety Dr. Patrick Conner, research leader of the University of Georgia’s pecan breeding program, introduced a new variety of pecan tree – Avalon – that he has spent the last 17 years developing. “I look at this cultivar as a good Southeastern cultivar that will give growers a chance to plant a cultivar with scab resistance that will give shellers the size and quality nut they want,” Conner said. Avalon, which is a cross between the Gloria Grande and Barton varieties, has been tested for resistance to pecan scab in sprayed orchards in Ray City and Tifton, and unsprayed orchards in Albany, Attapulgus, Tifton and Ray City. “No one can predict how long a variety will be scab resistant. What I can say is this variety has done 99 percent better at hav-

Tree Insurance Available Dr. Jeanne Lindsey with the USDA Risk Management Agency in Valdosta gave an overview of the new insurance program for pecan trees beginning July 1. Pecan growers had until May 15 to purchase the insurance. To be insured, trees must be two years old or older. Causes of covered tree loss include wind, ice, flood, fire and freeze damage. Complete details can be found at www.rma. “This has been a long time coming and a lot of people have wanted this. This is a pilot policy subject to change, so there may be changes next year,” Lindsey said. “This tree policy is more complicated than the revenue policy that insures the nut crop.”

American Pecan Council representing growers American Pecan Council (APC) members Trent Mason, of Fort Valley; Larry Willson, of Albany; and Mike Adams, of Texas, gave a status update of the federal marketing order for pecans that growers in the 15-state pecan growing region passed last year. The APC has three growing regions – eastern, central and western. Georgia is in the eastern region with Alabama, Florida, North Carolina and South Carolina. Adams, chairman of the council, said the bulk of the funds collected by the counSee PECAN CONFERENCE page 29 Georgia Farm Bureau News

By Jay Stone _______________________________________________________ Georgia pork producers heard presentations from UGA experts and the Georgia Department of Agriculture on key research and regulatory issues affecting swine production during the 2017 Georgia Pork Congress on Feb. 21. UGA Animal and Dairy Science Department Head Dr. Keith Bertrand reviewed trends in department enrollment and research faculty. Bertrand, who said he is retiring, noted that undergraduate enrollment has grown from about 160 in 1996 to more than 300 currently, while the graduate programs have grown from 40 students in 1996 to 51 in 2017, including 27 PhD students. The department has been able to restore some faculty positions that were trimmed as cost-cutting measures between 2009 and 2012. Dr. David Reeves, professor emeritus with the UGA College of Veterinary Medicine, reviewed changes in rules for antimicrobial use under the FDA’s Veterinary Feed Directive (VFD), which went into effect on Jan. 1. “Things have really changed, and changed a lot, since Jan. 1,” Reeves said. The VFD, under guidance documents 209 and 213, removed all growth promotion and nutritional efficiency labels from medically important antimicrobial drugs, and all veterinary feed manu-

Photo by Jay Stone

Pork producers hear about UGA animal science, VFD

Dr. David Reeves, professor emeritus with the UGA College of Veterinary Medicine, discussed the FDA’s Veterinary Feed Directive that went into effect Jan. 1. Reeves said producers need to strictly follow medication labels, and if they are receiving medicated feed, they should keep detailed delivery records.

facturers agreed to comply. In addition, veterinarians cannot write prescriptions that deviate from uses listed on the labels. Reeves said producers need to strictly follow medication labels. He encouraged hog farmers to keep detailed records of any deliveries of medicated feed they receive, including date of delivery and which bin it was placed in on their farm. UGA Animal Waste Management Specialist Melony Wilson presented information about composting carcasses of deceased livestock to create rich organic material for soil amendments. Wilson said high temperatures in the compost piles destroy most pathogens and reduce animal carcasses to bone fragments. She said 18 to 24 inches of carbon material like wood chips or sawdust are needed above, below and on all sides of the carcass to prevent ground water contamination and help control odor. Outdoor sites must be approved by the Georgia Department of Agriculture. To view state rules on carcass disposal visit Visit to read the entire article.


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Georgia Farm Bureau News

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June-July 2017/ 13

Roby Murray retires after more than 35 years in 1st District When Roby Murray was hired by Georgia Farm Bureau in 1981, his hope was the company would assign him a post in South Georgia. Instead, he was sent to Northwest Georgia to set up shop as the organization’s 1st District field representative. Murray, who was born in Germany and grew up in a military family, adapted quickly; it didn’t take long for him to conclude North Georgia was where he was supposed to be. “After being up here for about six months, getting to know the people up here, I didn’t want to move,” Murray said. “I felt like this was home, too. I met [Gordon County Farm Bureau President] Henry West and his wife, Lois. They treated me just like a son. They took me in, they invited me over for special occasions, just like family. A lot of the folks in District 1, it was the same way, they treated you real hospitably. I really had some good people to work with in this area.” During his first meeting at a county Farm Bureau office, Murray looked down and saw a hole in the floor and could see the dirt beneath. “I said to myself, ‘What am I getting myself into?’ ” said Murray, who retired in March. He laughs now at the memories of his early days with the company. Like much of GFB, the counties in the 1st District have made significant strides. The county Farm Bureaus all have nice facilities – no more holes in floors - and devoted groups of volunteers

in nearly all 15 counties in the district. “Now every county Farm Bureau has a building that they own, a building that they’re very proud of. They’re all beautiful buildings,” Murray said. Roby Murray They can all be proud of what they’ve done.” The facility advancement during Murray’s tenure wasn’t limited to office buildings. The district was successful in building and running a hog sale barn in north Bartow County. The market held weekly sales, giving local hog farmers a market. On a statewide basis, Murray enjoys knowing he played a part in projects like the Georgia Agricultural Tax Exemption (GATE), the Conservation Use Value Assessment (CUVA) and others. “Those programs are helping farmers today and those that are going to be coming along in the future. Those folks had to pave that way basically,” Murray said. “We’re involved as an organization to help those farmers and ag leaders to have a way to present that and See MURRAY page 18

Photo by Jay Stone

By Jay Stone ________________________________________________________

Ricky Lane retires after more than 37 years with GFB There may be no one more died-in-the-wool Georgia Farm Bureau than Ricky Lane. Lane retired May 31, and GFB has been his only employer since graduating from the University of Georgia in 1980 with an agricultural economics degree. He started as a field rep trainee, then worked for four years on the grain desk for the GFB Marketing Association before moving over to Field Services. “It was a family operation kind of like it is now,” said Lane, who has worked as GFB’s District 3 Field Representative since 1985. “I can’t see that it’s changed a whole lot.” Having grown up in Carroll County around cattle, Lane was tasked with working at a hog sale held at one of GFB’s hog barns. He was told to direct the hogs through chutes. A hog went between his legs and Lane ended up sitting on it. Then he fell off. “I’d never been around hogs,” he said. “I’d been around cows. You throw your arms up and holler at a cow, it’s going to turn and go the other direction. The hog kept coming.” As he pondered retirement, Lane reflected on his career and took pride in being a part of some key initiatives that have helped farmers become stronger economically. “There’s a lot of positive things we’ve done through the years,” Lane said. “Conservation Use is probably the biggest thing from an actual dollar savings to farmers. It took us close to 25 years to get it passed. A lot of work went into it.” 14 / June-July 2017

GFB was instrumental in gaining tax exemptions for livestock owners, who previously had to pay ad valorem taxes on their animals. “I think farmers have got a good image,” Lane said. “We Ricky Lane work hard to maintain it, and I think you found that out when we pushed for [state] constitutional amendments, like the conservation use. Every county in the state voted to approve that. That’s pretty impressive. They support agriculture enough to vote for that.” Lane worked to get the 14 counties in the 3rd District financially stable, and under his watch, county Farm Bureaus started presenting farm day events at local schools. The first one was in Decatur. “We got Newton County Young Farmers to load up all their stuff and went to downtown Decatur. It was a good day,” Lane said. “Those kids had never seen farm animals. I like to think about how many kids we’ve reached through the years. What you hope is they’ll grow up and vote in support of agriculture.” See LANE page 18

Photo by Jay Stone

By Jay Stone ________________________________________________________

Georgia Farm Bureau News

GFB mourns loss of former county leaders

Georgia Farm Bureau recently lost four former county Farm Bureau presidents, Gerald Andrews of Washington County, Cecil Gober of Gwinnett County, Walter Prescott of Jefferson County and Russell Smith Sr. of Turner County. GERALD ANDREWS, president of the Washington County Farm Bureau from 1997-2012, died April 20 at age 83. In 1989, Andrews was instrumental in reviving the Washington County Agriculture & Youth Fair and took a lead role in planning the fair until 2014. A native of Worth County, Andrews attended Abraham Baldwin Agricultural College, then transferred to the University of Georgia and graduated in June 1955 with a B.S. in agriculture. In 1955, Andrews began working for the UGA Cooperative Extension Service as an assistant county agent in Tift County, then transferred to Washington County in 1956. Andrews served as the Washington County Extension director from 1970 until he retired in 1989. Andrews is survived by his wife of 59 years, Carol Shiver Andrews; daughter, Tamara Andrews Yates (Andy); son, Gerald Andrews Jr. (Erin); and five grandchildren. CECIL GOBER, president of Gwinnett County Farm Bureau for 26 years from 1988-2014, died June 17 at age 89. He retired from General Motors Assembly Plant with 30 years of service. Gober is survived by his wife of 29.5 years, Gay Gober; children,





Connie (Henry) McDaniel and Jerry Gober; stepsons, Corban (Jennifer) Cofer and Randy Cofer, and six grandchildren and eight great-grandchildren. WALTER PRESCOTT, Jefferson County Farm Bureau President for 37 years from 1986-2011, died May 17 at age 85. Prescott attended South Georgia College and graduated from the University of Georgia with a bachelor’s degree in animal husbandry. After being honorably discharged from the U.S. Navy, the Prescotts returned home to Jefferson County to farm. Prescott is survived by his wife of 66 years, Eva Mae Wilson Prescott; his children: Sandra P. Foster, Richard W. Prescott (Ina), Jimmy W. Prescott (Joyce) and Raymond E. Prescott (Susan); nine grandchildren and eight great-grandchildren. RUSSELL SMITH, who served as Turner County Farm Bureau president for 23 years, died May 23 at age 89. In addition to serving as county president from 1985-1986 and from 1989-2007, Smith served on several GFB  state committees. He was the Soil Conservation District Supervisor for many years and served as president of the Turner County Livestock Association.  Smith is survived by his wife of more than 66 years, Peggy Lanneau Smith; children: Rusty (Mary) Smith of Candler, North Carolina; Beth (Bob) Blanton of Sycamore and Brett Franklin Smith of Georgia; four grandchildren and two great-grandchildren.

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Georgia Farm Bureau News

June-July 2017/ 15

Left ro right: Kathy Covington, Sandy Smith, Vickie Amos and Marilyn Clark

GFB says goodbye to career employees who retired in May Compiled by Lauren Lin ____________________________________________________________________________ EDITOR’S NOTE: The Georgia Farm Bureau Federation said goodbye to five career employees who retired in May – Marilyn Akers (Field Services), Vickie Amos (Info/PR), Marilyn Clarke (Federation Accounting), Kathy Covington (Technology Services) and Sandy Smith (Public Policy). We featured Akers in an article that ran in the April/May GFB News. If you missed the article about Akers and her replacement, Haley Darby, visit Below are the questions and answers that GFB PR Communications Specialist Lauren Lin asked Amos, Clarke, Covington and Smith during their last week on the job. We hope you’ll enjoy reading about their GFB memories and sage life advice.

Vickie Amos

Q. Number of years you’ve worked at Georgia Farm Bureau? A. 40 years and six months. Q. GFB Departments you’ve worked in and corresponding year(s)? A. Commodities/Marketing Dept. 1976-1991; Info/PR Dept. 1991-2017 Q. Plans for retirement? A. I have a few trips planned and some projects to work on, but I’m most looking forward to spending more time with my three grandsons, Trey, Drew & Ryan. My fur-babies are always a handful so they’ll keep me busy, too. Q. Piece of advice to leave coworkers? A. Always be able to bend and go with the flow and remember to treat people as you would like to be treated. 16 / June-July 2017

Q. How did you hear about your job opening at GFB? A. I heard about it through a friend, who recommended I apply. I’d never heard of Georgia Farm Bureau and wasn’t really sure what it was. I was interviewed by Bob Marlowe when the GFB office was located on Riverside Drive. My first day at work was Monday, Oct. 4, 1976, working as a secretary for Doug Chastain, who was the assistant director of Commodities at the time. Q. Have a defining moment at GFB?  A. Farm Bureau has always been my family and has always been there for me. Through every good or bad moment in my life, Farm Bureau has been my support system. Andy Lucas came to our department as I was beginning to experience some of the greatest hardships of my life. I didn’t know what to expect from a new boss, how we would work together, or how he would respond to all that I was dealing with. Without hesitation or a second thought, Andy was always there for me being my biggest supporter. We’ve formed a relationship that is so important to me, one that has a big part of my heart. His compassion and understanding has carried me through whatever life and God have given me since 2014.

Marilyn Clark

Q. Number of years you’ve worked at Georgia Farm Bureau? A. 25 years and 11 months. Q. GFB Departments you’ve worked in and corresponding year(s)? A. Purchasing – June 1991; Brokerage

Claims – August 1991; and Federation Accounting – October 1991-Present. Q. Plans for retirement? A. My plate is going to be full. I plan to rest and relax a bit, but there are two projects I’m going to start right away. I’ve been told that based on all my life experiences I have enough to fill a book.And guess what? I do! I’m going to attempt to write and publish a book for women. I’m also going to travel across the country with the competitive champion riders from Iron Horse Stable as their videographer and photographer. Q. Piece of advice to leave coworkers? A. My daddy always used to tell me that we all are God’s children and we should treat each other with respect. There’s always someone worse off than you and you should count your blessings and approach people with kindness. Q. What friendship from GFB will you always remember/carry with you? A. One day when three of my girlfriends and I were eating lunch in the cafeteria, a young man walked in and looked around for an open spot. Our eyes met and I asked him to join us. A smile spread across his face and that’s how I met Aric Worthy. Aric and us four ladies had lunch together every day for a very long time, and we’ve had some crazy conversations! Recently, Aric and I were sitting together when someone joined in our conversation and we got around to talking about mentors. Aric was asked who his mentor was. He turned his heard and motioned to me, indicating I was his mentor. That single experience has meant everything to me. Q. What is your funniest GFB memory? A. Quite a while ago I broke my foot and was in a wheelchair. At the time, I worked near Bill Prather who worked in Legal. Bill was very quiet, stoic and dignified. I was wheeling myself down the hallway one day when out of nowhere, Bill runs up behind me and starts racing me up and down the hallway hooping, hollering, and laughing.Well, we both were laughing! Then he got tired and just walked away and I thought "Who invaded his body?" I still laugh when I think about that.

Kathy Covington

Q. Number of years you’ve worked at Georgia Farm Bureau? A. 28 years. Georgia Farm Bureau News

Q. GFB Departments you've worked in and corresponding year(s)? A. Policy Holder Services – Insurance – nine months; Field Services – 17 years; Member Services – nine years and Tech Services – one year. Q. Plans for retirement? A. Twelve years ago, my husband, Al, and I started camping and fell in love with it! It’s just what we love to do. Our usual spot is Indian Springs State Park near Jackson and Flovilla, and most recently we started serving as campsite hosts. Being a host allows us to give back and share what’s special to us with others. Al and I have a lot of experience, having traveled around a good bit of the Southeast. Helping others on the campsite, whether veterans or firsttimers, is a fun adventure for us. The idea we’re toying with now is traveling Route 66 all the way out to San Diego to see our son, daughter-in-law and 10-year-old grandson. Spending time with my family is most important to me and something I’ll get to do more of now. I have two granddaughters who live in Sumter and another grandson in For-

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syth. I’m really looking forward to being around them as much as I can. It will be great to have more time around the holidays with all of us together. Q. Piece of advice to leave coworkers? A. Time goes by so quickly, make sure you treasure each and every day! Q. What will you miss the most about working at GFB? A. There are so many things I’m going to miss about working here. I think what has meant the most to me are the friendships I’ve made during my time here, both in the home office and out in the county offices. Over the years, I’ve formed these amazing relationships with the secretaries and office managers in each county office. We’ve journeyed through life together and maybe only seen each other in person a handful of times, if ever, but we have this incredibly close bond and are a big part of each other’s lives. It will be hard not talking with them on a daily, weekly basis. Q. What is your best memory from all your years here? A. In 2015 GFB President Zippy Duvall was running for AFBF president and

the county offices pushed so hard to reach state goals, to increase membership and hit a high mark during his campaign. The amount of work put in by the counties was just phenomenal.They did an outstanding job.

Sandy Smith

Q. Number of years you’ve worked at Georgia Farm Bureau? A. 33 years. Q. GFB Departments you've worked in and corresponding year(s)? A. Farm Market Management 19842007; Legislative/Public Policy 2007-2017. Q. Plans for retirement? A. I’m originally from Kentucky so I plan to visit my family more and spend time with my 9-year-old granddaughter. I’m going to start volunteering in the community. Q. Piece of advice to leave coworkers? A. Always try and be compassionate, humble and kind to others. Treat others as you’d like to be treated. Q. What is a life lesson you’ve learned while working here? See EMPLOYEES page 29




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June-July 2017/ 17

Photo by Jay Stone

FVSU event serves up Ham & Eggs, research and government

During Fort Valley State University’s annual Ham & Eggs Legislative Breakfast, Dr. Govind Kannan, dean of the FVSU College of Agriculture, Family Sciences and Technology, gave an update on the school’s academic and research programs. Visit to see more photos from the event.

By Jay Stone ___________________________________ Attendees at the annual Fort Valley State University Ham & Egg Legislative Breakfast, first held in 1916, heard encouraging news about the just-approved state budget. The news from the federal level wasn’t as rosy. The April event, drew approximately 200 people and featured remarks from FVSU leaders, state elected officials and Rep. Sanford Bishop (D-2nd District). Rep. Austin Scott (R-8th District) served as the event’s master of ceremonies. Georgia Farm Bureau President Gerald Long spoke about the organization’s mission to represent farmers in the legislative and public policy arenas while encouraging attendees to become GFB members.  “Representing agriculture in the legislative arena has now expanded to the regulatory area,” Long said. “It has become so critical for us. The impact that government regulations have is not just in agriculture but in every rural community in Georgia. That’s something that we are really monitoring.” Long also said GFB is in discussion with Mercer University about the possibility of providing Mercer’s Atlanta campus with agrelated educational resources. Long encouraged FVSU to consider something similar. 18 / June-July 2017

FVSU President Dr. Paul Jones gave a brief history of the event, previously called the Ham & Egg Show and shared his thoughts on its enduring appeal. “Everybody wants a chance to demonstrate excellence. The Ham & Egg Show at its core was an opportunity for people who rarely got a chance to shine, to show their expertise to the world,” Jones said. “That is why I’m so proud to be the president of this great institution, because of its tradition of finding unique and innovative ways to help everyday people find their genius and demonstrate greatness.” Jones also noted the outreach efforts of the FVSU Cooperative Extension Service, the university’s research and academic programs. FVSU School of Agriculture, Family and Consumer Sciences and Technology Dean Dr. Govind Kannan provided information about enrollment increases, a new bachelor’s degree program in food science recently approved by the Georgia Board of Regents, and FVSU student research into scutellaria, a medicinal plant with compounds that can reduce the size of brain tumors. Kannan also discussed institutional research on parasite control for small ruminant animals, such as goats and sheep. “The main problem in small ruminant production is control of internal parasites, because the parasites can become resistant to chemical drugs we use,” Kannan said. “So we found that a forage called sericea lespedeza, which is high in condensed tannin, can control internal parasites.” FVSU Extension Administrator Dr.

Mark Latimore Jr. talked about the school’s achievements. These included a public health initiative in which 74 percent of participants showed improved nutrition with better planning of meals, making healthier food choices and reducing salt intake. “We’re really excited about our ability to reach the masses throughout the state of Georgia,” Latimore said. Georgia Rep. Patty Bentley (D-District 139) gave a brief review of key pieces of legislation affecting rural Georgia. Bentley highlighted the Rural Hospital Organization Act of 2017 (SB 14), which will allow rural hospitals to seek state grants to offset some of their financial challenges. Rep. Sanford Bishop painted a grim picture with respect to the federal budget, noting the proposed budget from the Trump administration would cut USDA funding by 21 percent. “There’s no way we can do everything we need to do in this country without the necessary funding,” Bishop said, noting that the Trump budget would increase defense spending by $54 million, money that would have to be offset by cuts in non-defense spending. “That is going to cause a lot of pain.” Georgia Agriculture Commissioner Gary Black talked about his department’s budget as approved by the General Assembly. The budget includes a bond package that will allow the department to double the size of the Georgia Grown Building at the Georgia National Fairgrounds & Agricenter. The extra space will include a birthing center to demonstrate live births of farm animals during the Georgia National Fair beginning in 2018. “There will be live births every day of the fair so the public can understand the circle of life and what that’s all about,” Black said.

MURRAY from page 14 bring it through the process.” Murray plans to spend time with family, play golf, perhaps dabble in the stock market. “The biggest thing I’ll miss is working with the people – both the employees that

I work with and the volunteer folks in the counties and the employees in the counties,” Murray said. “When I came to Farm Bureau, the reason I stayed was because of the people. I enjoyed that working relationship.”

LANE from page 14 Lane said he plans to work around his family’s farm in Carroll County, spend some time gardening and playing with his grandchildren. And he’ll remember GFB fondly. “I’ll miss the people – the county vol-

unteers, field service staff and the folks in Macon,” Lane said. “The county volunteer leaders become like family because that’s where you spend your time out there. I’ve had a great bunch of office managers. The work they did made my job easy.” Georgia Farm Bureau News

By Jay Stone ___________________________________ Georgia Farm Bureau’s 1st, 2nd and 3rd Districts are being led by new field representatives after their predecessors retired or were promoted this spring. On April 11, Nathan Dupree was named the GFB 1st District field rep. and Brittany Ivey was named the GFB 2nd Dist. field rep. On June 5, Rebecca Jacobs was named the GFB 3rd Dist. field rep. “We are excited to have Brittany, Rebecca and Nathan join our Field Services Department,” said GFB President Gerald Long. "Based on their prior involvement with Farm Bureau as staff or volunteer leaders, we’re confident they will each do a fine job attending to the needs of farmers in our 1st, 2nd and 3rd districts.” As the GFB 1st Dist. field rep, Dupree will cover the following counties in Northwest Georgia: Bartow, Catoosa, Chattooga, Cherokee, Dade, Dawson, Fannin, Floyd, Forsyth, Gilmer, Gordon, Murray, Pickens, Walker and Whitfield. He replaces Roby Murray, who retired in March. A native of Chatsworth, Dupree has a bachelor’s degree in diversified agriculture from Abraham Baldwin Agricultural College. He came to GFB in December 2015, working in the former Commodities/Marketing Department. Dupree managed the GFB Grain Desk, selling grain for GFB members and working with GFB’s programs related to feed grains. Ivey, who has worked as assistant director for the Stephens County Development Authority and as a UGA Cooperative Extension agent, has a degree in history from UGA. As the GFB 2nd Dist. field rep., she is working with the following counties in Northeast Georgia: Banks, Elbert, Franklin, Habersham, Hall, Hart, Jackson, Lumpkin, Madison, Rabun, Stephens, Towns, Union and White. Ivey replaces Clay Talton who was promoted to associate director of Field Services. Georgia Farm Bureau News

June-July 2017/ 19

Photos by Lili Davis

GFB names new district field reps

Ivey served as chairman of the Stephens County Farm Bureau Young Farmer Committee. In 2014, she won the GFB Young Farmer Discussion Meet then finished in the Nathan Dupree Brittany Ivey Rebecca Jacobs top 16 nationally in the American Farm Bureau Federation Discussion Meet. She and her husband, Chad, live in Toccoa with their three children, Alli Kay, Colsen and Gus. Jacobs and her husband, Bennett, began serving on the GFB Young Farmer Committee in January. Due to Rebecca’s employment with GFB, they stepped down from the committee. They live in Rockmart with their children, Aubrey and Nolan. The Jacobses won the 2016 Georgia Farm Bureau Young Farmer Excellence in Agriculture Award and finished in the top 10 nationally during the American Farm Bureau Federation Convention in Phoenix in January. Rebecca, who succeeds Ricky Lane, holds a bachelor’s degree in finance from Montana State University and is an active member of the Georgia Cattlemen’s Association, the Rockmart Farmers Market and Polk County Farm Bureau. The GFB 3rd District includes Carroll, Clayton, Cobb, Douglas, Fayette, North Fulton, South Fulton, Gwinnett, Haralson, Henry, Paulding, Polk and Rockdale/DeKalb counties.

during which Georgia Beef Commissionfunded research findings were presented on topics related to livestock forage. The commission provided funding to 17 studies in 2016, including five related to forage. One of those was on methods to manage the Bermudagrass stem maggot, which has infested and damaged forage grass throughout the Southeast. According to the research, led by UGA Forage Specialist Dennis Hancock, mechanical and chemical controls may be used to keep the invasive insect larvae from causing economic damage.

Photo by Jay Stone

Call the midwife

Crawford County Farm Bureau Vice President Wayne McInvale checks out a cattle chute at the Georgia Cattlemen’s Association trade show.

Georgia Cattlemen’s Convention spotlights all things beef By Jay Stone ____________________________________________________________________________

GCA seeks next generation of ranchers New Georgia Cattlemen’s Association President Lee Brown thinks the beef industry is set for an economic rebound and he’s looking to draw younger ranchers to the organization. Brown, a first-generation cattleman from Madison County, succeeds 2016 President Kyle Gillooly. Brown is encouraging younger cattlemen to join the GCA and expressed optimism that after multiple years of sagging commodity prices for beef the economics of the industry would turn around. “I think there are people who benefit from being a member of our association no matter what the market does,” said Brown. He recommends individuals considering getting into the cattle business seek the counsel of experienced cattle producers. “I would try to pair them up with a mentor – 20 / June-July 2017

an older gentleman or lady in the industry in their area. Kind of have them shadow the mentor and learn from them.” Cattlemen and cattlewomen from across the state got a look at the latest equipment, heard important research information, danced a little, ate and bought livestock during the 56th Annual Georgia Cattlemen’s Association (GCA) Convention and Trade Show, held March 29 – April 1 at the Georgia National Fairgrounds & Agricenter in Perry. The event drew an estimated 1,500 visitors and featured 95 vendors, ranging from food products to livestock feed to heavy equipment. Five different livestock auctions were held during the event, as well as the annual Cattlemen’s Ball and GCA Awards Banquet

Let’s talk about grass The convention included the 6th Annual Forage Conference on March 29,

UGA Assistant Professor of Beef Production Medicine Dr. Lee Jones talked about recognizing cows experiencing calving difficulty. “It’s just learning to recognize the signs, when it’s a good idea to intervene and provide some assistance,” Jones said. “The big thing there is, farmers who maybe don’t have a lot of experience with cattle may not recognize when an animal is actually needing help, when she’s in trouble.” Jones said some key warning signs are cows nearing delivery may be restless or not eating, may isolate themselves from the rest of the herd or hold their tails out for extended periods as if to urinate but without doing so. “What we try to teach is a set of simple corrections the farmer can make, and how to recognize when is it beyond their ability,” Jones said. “With every farmer it’s going to depend on their experience.”

Cattle producers honored The GCA presented these awards at its awards banquet: County Agent of the Year - Lucy Ray; Vocational Ag Teacher of the Year - Cindy Jones; Junior of the Year - Tiffany Mullins; Producer of the Year - Marcus and Anthony South; Friend of the Cattlewomen - Sherri Morrow; Cattlewoman of the Year - Carolyn Gazda; Cattlewoman Hall of Fame - Linda Crumley; YCC David Gazda Visionary Award - Henry Jones; Beef Month Chapter Winner - Floyd Co Cattlemen’s Association; Hall of Fame Bobby Brantley. For more photos from the GCA Convention visit Georgia Farm Bureau News

Ga. farmers pass tobacco, corn, pecan & beef referendums

Georgia tobacco, corn, pecan and beef producers all voted to continue their respective commodity commissions during separate mail referendums held this spring. Tobacco producers overwhelmingly voted to extend the self-assessment of 50 cents per hundredweight of tobacco they pay at the time of sale for an additional three years. During the March 1-30 balloting period, 90.6 percent of the eligible ballots returned were marked yes. The Georgia Agricultural Commodity Commission for Tobacco uses the assessment funds received for tobacco research, education and promotion projects.  The commission was established in 1962 by the Georgia Legislature and has continued to support important projects for Georgia tobacco growers. Most of the funds are committed to research projects that address controlling plant suckers, nematodes and disease, variety trials and fertility projects, as well as tobacco Extension programs. Georgia corn growers voted to continue paying a self-assessment of one cent per bushel of corn to fund the Georgia Agriculture Commodity Commission for Corn. The mail referendum for the corn commission was held March 15 to April 14 and was reaffirmed by a 93.5 percent favorable vote. The market order for corn requires a vote by producers every three years for continuation. Funds received by the corn commission are used for research, education and promotion projects for corn. The Georgia Corn Commission, established in 1995 by the Georgia State Legislature at the request of growers, supports important projects for Georgia corn growers in the areas of fertility, insects, diseases, hybrid evaluation, hybrid development, aflatoxin research, extension and education on production practices. Corn grown in Georgia is used in Georgia to manufacture ethanol for fuel and as a feed ingredient for poultry and other animals. Corn is an important crop for rotation with cotton and peanuts. Georgia pecan growers voted to extend their self-assessment of one cent per pound of pecans by producers with more than 30 acres for an additional three years. Of the eligible ballots returned, during the April 1 to April 30 mail referGeorgia Farm Bureau News

endum, 85.48 percent voted yes. The Georgia Agriculture Commodity Commission for Pecans, established in 1994 by the Georgia Legislature at the request of growers, uses the assessment funds for pecan research, education and promotion projects. Most of the grower assessments fund research projects addressing tree fertility, insects, diseases, plant breeding selection, nutrition, extension and production education as well as marketing and promotion efforts in e-commerce and other activities. Georgia ranks No. 1 in the United States in pecan production, and the crop has a farm gate value of $361 million dollars. Georgia beef producers voted to continue the $1 per head assessment for beef cattle to fund the Georgia Beef Commis-

sion Marketing Order during the mail referendum held May 1-30. Producers voted to continue the Georgia Agriculture Commodity Commission for Beef with 80.7 percent of returned ballots marked yes. The marketing order was first approved in 2014 and requires an assessment to be collected on all animals sold for beef in Georgia with a value of more than $100. The marketing order must be voted on every three years for continuation. The assessment is used to fund research, education and promotion projects for Georgia cattle producers. In the three years since the assessment began, more than $1 million has been committed to research projects with the University of Georgia and in-state education and promotion efforts focusing on nutritional qualities of beef.

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Vidalia Onion Committee presents annual awards Aries Haygood from M & T Farms, in Lyons, was named grower of the year and Dr. Ronald Gitaitis of the University of Georgia’s College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences (CAES) was inducted to the Vidalia Onion Hall of Fame during the Annual Vidalia Onion Committee (VOC) Awards banquet in FebHaygood ruary. Each year, the VOC selects a grower or overall farm of the year to recognize achievement and success as a producer of Vidalia Onions with an emphasis on quality production and compliance with the Marketing Order. Haygood is general manager of M & T Farms, a family-owned and operated business. M & T Farms has been

in business for almost 30 years and averages 400 acres of Vidalia Onions each year. Haygood manages the farm for his father-in-law, Terry Collins, who was named grower of the year in 2002. Gitaitis is a plant pathologist at the UGA CAES Tifton campus. Gitaitis has spent his career researchGitaitis ing bacterial diseases that affect Vidalia onions. He has published numerous reports and journal articles.  He has mentored other scientists at UGA and other institutions throughout his career. Many of his discoveries have shaped the production practices in the Vidalia region. He has provided 37 years of service to UGA and retired in June.

Ga. counties get disaster designations for freeze & drought On May 3, the USDA issued disaster declarations for 34 Georgia counties to help farmers mitigate losses caused by a freeze that occurred March 15-18. The following counties received primary designations for the freeze: Appling, Atkinson, Bacon, Berrien, Brantley, Brooks, Camden, Charlton, Clinch, Coffee, Colquitt, Cook, Echols, Jeff Davis, Lanier, Long, Lowndes, McIntosh, Pierce, Ware and Wayne. The following counties received a contiguous designation: Ben Hill, Glynn, Irwin, Liberty, Mitchell, Montgomery, Tattnall, Telfair, Thomas, Tift, Toombs, Wheeler and Worth. A release the Georgia Department of Agriculture issued after the freeze estimated as much as 80 percent of Georgia’s blueberry crop was lost. Other crops affected by the freeze include peaches, strawberries, watermelons, peppers and other vegetables. The freeze hit farms across Georgia with temperatures dropping as low as 22 degrees as far 22 / June-July 2017

south as Homerville near the Florida line. On June 14, the USDA issued a disaster declaration for 13 Georgia counties for ongoing drought conditions. Baker, Decatur, Grady, Mitchell and Thomas counties received a primary disaster declaration. Brooks, Calhoun, Colquitt, Dougherty, Early, Miller, Seminole and Worth counties were named contiguous counties. Farmers in counties named primary or contiguous disaster areas are eligible for low interest emergency loans from USDA's Farm Service Agency (FSA), provided eligibility requirements are met. Farmers in eligible counties have eight months from the date of the declaration to apply for loans to help cover part of their actual losses. FSA considers each application on its own merits, considering the extent of losses, security available and repayment ability. FSA has a variety of programs, in addition to the loan program, to help eligible farmers recover from adversity. Visit http://disaster.fsa. for more information.

AMS proposes rule to raise Seg 1 peanut standard

On May 25 the USDA’s Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) issued a proposed rule to adjust the grading score used to classify farmer stock peanuts as Segregation 1 (Seg 1) from 2.49 percent damaged kernels to 3.49 percent, with a corresponding adjustment to the standard for Segregation 2 (Seg 2) peanuts. The Peanut Standards Board (PSB) recommended this change to align the incoming standards with recent changes to the outgoing quality standards and to help increase returns to peanut producers. The PSB voted in September 2016 to recommend the change to limit losses in value for peanut crops. Peanuts graded lower than Seg 1 are less valuable, in some cases by hundreds of dollars per ton, according to information presented prior to the September PSB vote. Seg 2 peanuts typically make up less than 1 percent of the U.S. peanut crop, but a farmer whose entire crop is graded Seg 2 could face financial ruin. With new technology, damaged peanuts can be conditioned and resold at market value without affecting the quality of peanuts delivered to consumers. “Segregation 1 peanut standards are an ancient regulation and the technology in the industry is vastly improved,” said Armond Morris, chairman of the Georgia Peanut Commission. “A similar action was granted to the peanut processors last year on outgoing regulations so it only makes sense growers should be afforded the same revision in the rules.” Georgia Farm Bureau supports the adjustment in the Seg 1 peanut standard. The AMS accepted public comments through June 26. The PSB is authorized under the Farm Security and Rural Investment Act of 2002 and has 18 members representing the peanut-growing regions of the U.S. The USDA consults with the board to establish or change quality and handling standards for domestically produced peanuts. Georgia growers produce about half the U.S. peanut crop.  Georgia Farm Bureau News

By Jay Stone ___________________________________ Kelly Thompson joined Georgia Farm Bureau as the organization’s Certified Farm Markets Coordinator on May 30. A native of Habersham County, Thompson graduated in May from the University of Georgia with a master’s degree in agribusiness and previously received a bachelor’s in agribusiness from UGA. She also holds an associate degree in agribusiness from Abraham Baldwin Agricultural College. Thompson grew up on a cattle farm in Clarkesville and showed a variety of livestock growing up. “We’re excited to have Kelly join us,” said GFB President Gerald Long. “She brings a great deal of enthusiasm to the job and we look forward to seeing what she does with our Certified Farm Markets.” Before coming to GFB, Thompson interned with the Georgia Department of Agriculture and the UGA Cooperative Extension. Thompson’s studies took her to multiple foreign countries, including Scotland and

Uruguay, where she saw firsthand how local markets operate in other parts of the world. GFB’s Certified Farm Markets program is a network of more than 70 local markets across the state that provide consumers the freshest, most delicious locally grown products available. The CFMs offer more than 50 different farm products and experiences, meeting virtually any taste. To find a CFM near you, visit

Photo by Lili Davis

Thompson new GFB Certified Farm Markets Coordinator

Kelly Thompson

UGA Extension changes pesticide training rules & fees

The way the University of Georgia Cooperative Extension offers training, exams and continuing education classes for pesticide applicators’ license renewals changed May 1. The changes were made to ensure UGA Extension is in line with changes mandated by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). “We will continue to make sure that those who use restricted-use pesticides as part of their livelihoods - landscapers and farmers - will have 24/7 access to the training they need to use those pesticides safely,” said Mark McCann, assistant dean for Agriculture and Natural Resources Extension at UGA. To comply with EPA rule changes and to offer Georgia’s farmers and pesticide operators more focused, local instruction, the UGA Pesticide Education Program created a new curriculum and set in place an online training system which is available 24/7. Federal funds that previously supported training have been reduced, so UGA Extension is charging a $25 fee for the online training program to offset that funding loss.  Visit to read the complete article.

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Georgia Farm Bureau News

June-July 2017/ 23

GFB members & staff learn to navigate current of ag literacy By Jennifer Whittaker _____________________________________


arm Bureau volunteers and county staff attending the annual Georgia Farm Bureau Educational Leadership Conference March 4 in Columbus heard motivating speakers who gave practical tips for taking agriculture into the classroom and talking to consumers about how farmers grow their food. “If we don’t share what we know, then we’re going to pay for it in the future. Activists who don’t understand agriculture have an agenda, and if we don’t tell our story they will reshape our story and tell it for us,” GFB Women’s Leadership Committee Chairman Rhonda Williams told attendees in the opening session.

Be a genuine volunteer

Photo by Jennifer Whittaker

Dr. David Mouser, school superintendent of Tri-Valley CUSD #3 in Downs, Illinois, gave a humorous and moving

Pictured from left, Northside Elementary School teacher Adrienne Bickel and GFB Women’s Committee members Carol Baker Dunn and Angela Todd demonstrate the exercise students did as they worked to increase the efficiency with which workers at Perdue Farms hang chickens on the processing line. The students’ final solution was to increase the height of the platforms on which workers stand and the tables they work at. Visit LeadershipConf​to view more photos. 24 / June-July 2017

speech in which he encouraged attendees to remember that the smallest things we do for kids and each other can make a lasting impact on others’ lives, especially students they meet in the course of their Farm Bureau volunteer work. Mouser began his career as an ag teacher before advancing to serve as a high school principal and then superintendent. He praised ag education for its inclusive nature that benefits students of varying developmental levels and skill sets. Mouser offered four suggestions for Farm Bureau volunteers to implement as they tell the story of agriculture to school children or adults in their communities: share not only your successes but also your failures; focus on the child in front of you when volunteering in a school and consider the emotional issues the child may have brought to school with him from home; look at kids in their eyes, shake their hands, or pat them on the back and tell them you’re glad they’re here, and have faith in other people. “You can’t just share things that work. We should also share things that didn’t work so we can get better together,” Mouser said while sharing that the first time he tried to teach welding he shocked himself in front of his class and had to confess to his students that he didn’t know how to weld. Mouser said his confession to his students and his pledge they would learn together resulted in his students becoming engaged in the class and recruiting other students to the FFA program.

Talk about ag with EASE

Lindsay Calvert, director of leadership development for American Farm Bureau, shared tips on how to talk to consumers about agriculture with EASE. Calvert suggested farmers Engage with consumers by listening to them to find common interests they share. She encouraged farmers to Acknowledge consumers’ right to have concerns about how their food is grown, Share things they are doing on their farms to care for animals or protect the environment and Earn the trust of consumers by talking in terms and language they understand.

“We have to get over the attitude we as farmers have of ‘How dare they question what I do on my farm?’,” Calvert said. “We can’t go into defense mode because as soon as we get defensive we turn people off.” Calvert recommended that farmers avoid ag jargon and acronyms consumers aren’t familiar with, such as broilers, when talking about meat chickens. She said the ag community should use the word farmers instead of producers and farms instead of operations, to avoid the perception of factory agriculture.

Ag meets STEM/STEAM requirements In 2015, a national priority was set to increase the number of U.S. students and teachers who are proficient in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) using hands-on activities that teach students critical thinking skills. Michele Reedy, director of North Carolina Farm Bureau’s Ag in the Classroom program, led a workshop exploring how the trend of schools adopting a STEM curriculum can pave the way for getting Ag in the Classroom activities and volunteers into schools. Reedy contends that agriculture puts the STEAM in STEM. Proving Reedy’s point, Marla Garnto and Adrienne Bickel, teaching partners at Northside Elementary School in Houston County, led a workshop with Carol Baker Dunn, GFB 8th District Women’s Leadership Committee Chairman, who shared how they work as a team using Ag in the Classroom lessons to meet STEM requirements. “We need to adopt ag curriculum from kindergarten on because it’s so adaptable,” said Garnto, who received the 2016 GFB Agriculture in the Classroom Teacher of the Year Award. See LITERACY next page Georgia Farm Bureau News

Art by GFB Art Contest runner-up Matt Bryson,Gordon County, GFB 1st District

Art by GFB Art Contest state winner Amber Moore, Colquitt County, GFB 9th District

High school students sketch Ga. ag to win GFB Art Contest prizes Amber Moore of Colquitt County is the state winner of the 23rd Annual Georgia Farm Bureau High School Art Contest. The daughter of Sherry and Deric Moore, Amber was a senior at Colquitt County High when she entered her drawing in the contest earlier this year. She won $250 as the state winner and an additional $100 as the GFB 9th District winner. Open to any Georgia high school student (grades 9-12), 55 submissions were received. The contest sought entries that best represented modern agriculture found in the student’s home county or Georgia’s agriculture industry. Sponsored by Georgia Farm Bureau and SunTrust Bank, Middle Georgia, applicants were judged on artistic merit and how well the artwork represented Georgia agriculture. Matt Bryson of Gordon County, GFB 1st District, and Emily Pridgen of Coffee County, GFB 10th District, were the state contest runners-up and awarded $150 in addition to the $100 they received for being district winners. Other district winners in the art contest were: Jamiya Allen, Elbert County, GFB 2nd District; Kasie Price, Polk County, GFB Georgia Farm Bureau News

Art by GFB Art Contest runner-up Emily Pridgen, Coffee County, GFB 10th District

3rd District; Kyle Mitchell, Walton County, GFB 4th District; Clara Reinagel, Upson County, GFB 5th District; Katelyn Jackson, Johnson County, GFB 6th District; Victoria Moss, Effingham County, GFB 7th District, and Olivia Perry, Sumter County, GFB 8th District. Each district winner received a $100 cash prize. The winning artwork from each district will be featured in GFB’s 2018 Ag in the Classroom calendar along with two other contest entries selected by the judges. The GFB Women’s Leadership Committee coordinated the contest on the state level and county Women’s Committees promoted the contest locally.

“Finding innovative ways to reach students is a continued goal for Ag in the Classroom. The art and essay contests are a unique opportunity to effectively connect with students and teachers to increase agricultural awareness. As Georgia’s largest economic sector, we strive to promote agriculture in a capacity that will resonate with children and the general public,” said GFB Women’s Leadership Committee Chairman Rhonda Williams. “I appreciate all the counties that connected with teachers and students directly, encouraging them to participate in our art contest.” Visit to view all of the winning drawings.

LITERACY from previous page Garnto began using Ag in the Classroom lessons after attending a GFB Ag Educator Workshop Houston County Farm Bureau (HCFB) hosted. With the help of HCFB, Garnto and Bickel grew a class garden, studied bees with a visit from a local beekeeper, discussed how manure fertilizes the soil and worms aerate the soil. Williams and GFB 5th Dist. Women’s Chairman Melissa Bottoms conducted a

workshop featuring the book, “First Peas to the Table,” by Susan Grigsby. Williams and Bottoms showed conference attendees how they can use the book to teach students parts of the flower by making a flower craft or plant pea seeds and keep a garden journal as the book’s main character does. Attendees also had the opportunity to place bids on donated items offered in a silent auction that raised $2,294 for the GFB Foundation for Agriculture. June-July 2017/ 25

AROUND GEORGIA Compiled by Jennifer Whittaker

News from County Farm Bureaus

BERRIEN COUNTY Berrien County Farm Bureau (BCFB) was a sponsor for the ag day Berrien County High School held this spring for about 175 local preschool students. BCFB volunteer Caley Webb, BCFB Secretary Vanna Boykin, and BCFB Agency Manager Brady Tucker talked to the preschoolers about fruits and veggies being good for them. BCFB gave each student a sample of fresh strawberries and carrots, courtesy of Southern Grace Farms, and a gift bag with a coloring book, pencil and a sticker.

BROOKS COUNTY Brooks County Middle School students enjoyed a school garden this past school year thanks to the Brooks County Farm Bureau Women’s Committee, which funded the project. Students in Christy Thomas’, center, ag classes built raised flower beds, which they planted with pansies and flowering cabbage. Thomas’ students maintained the beds and will grow seedlings of various flowers for each season in the school greenhouse and then transplant them into the beds. BULLOCH COUNTY Bulloch County Farm Bureau Director Bobby Cason, center, visited Bulloch Academy this spring where he talked to preschool and kindergarten students about raising goats. Cason let the students bottle feed and walk the the two goats using lead ropes. 26 / June-July 2017

CHATHAM COUNTY Thanks to Chatham County Farm Bureau (CCFC), about 510 preschool and elementary students better understand the life cycle of chickens. CCFB Office Manager Debbie Gibson, left, took baby chicks to four local elementary schools, and CCFB Secretary Jennifer Mills took chicks to a local daycare during a two-week period in March. Baylee Mills, right, was one of the students who enjoyed holding the chicks, learning about chickens, completing crafts, and doing the “chicken dance.” COBB COUNTY Cobb County Farm Bureau (CCFB) participated in an open house Awtrey Middle School held for its school farm May 2. CCFB President Stan Kirk was among the special guests that included Georgia Ag Commissioner Gary Black. The event gave the students a chance to showcase their farm, where they are raising chickens, collecting eggs and growing vegetables. CCFB Women’s Committee member Lynn Eidson, pictured, participated in the Awtrey Middle School open house by providing samples of strawberries and kale from her Southern Roots Farm for the students and visitors to try. COOK COUNTY Cook County Farm Bureau (CCFB) celebrated Georgia Agriculture Awareness Week, March 20-24, with activities throughout the week. CCFB Young Farmers and volunteers kicked the week off with the annual Cook County Livestock Show & Sale, March 20-21. On March 22, CCFB Young Farmer Committee Chairman Justin Shealey, pictured, celebrated Ag Hero Day with kindergarteners at Cook Primary School. Shealey, who is the Echols County Extension Coordinator, grows cotton, peanuts, wheat and watermelons on his family’s farm along with raising cattle. He talked to the kindergartners about being a farmer. Georgia Farm Bureau News

On March 23 & 24 CCFB Women’s Committee Chairman Ray Bloser and CCFB Office Manager Michele Waters promoted ag literacy by reading ag books to a pre-K and kindergarten class and providing Georgia Grown snacks to the students.

growing season. Students picked strawberries during their tours of the strawberry fields. GCFB Women’s and P&E Committee members helped students make strawberry crafts to take home during their visit to Payne Farms.

CRISP COUNTY To help Crisp County Primary School celebrate Ag Week, March 20-24, Crisp County Farm Bureau (CCFB) Office Manager Dawn Spradley, back row left, and CCFB Agent Kristy Silcox, back row right, taught students how seeds grow. Spradley and Silcox helped the students make “living necklaces” using lima bean seeds, blue beads to symbolize water, yellow beads for sunlight, black beads for soil, green beads to represent seed and red beads to represent farmers.

GREENE COUNTY Greene County Farm Bureau (GCFB) worked with Union Point STEAM Academy as two classes of kindergarten students participated in the American Farm Bureau First Peas to The Table Contest. Students nationwide in kindergarten through fifth grade competed to see who could grow the most shelled peas by midnight May 15. Each team of students could plant no more than 20 seeds. GCFB Women’s Committee member Emma O’Neal read the book, “First Peas to The Table,” to the students, and GCFB Director Bruce Lovin, left, helped students plant pea seeds.

DOUGHERTY COUNTY Dougherty County Farm Bureau (DCFB) partnered with the Dougherty County Extension office to visit two pre-school classes at the Childcare Network #221 in March. DCFB Office Manager Cindy Drew, left, read the book “Sophie’s Squash” and DCFB Secretary Angie Mims, right, helped the children learn about the parts of a squash plant, its life cycle and what plants need to grow. DCFB gave the students treats, activity sheets, bookmarks and pencils. Dougherty County Extension Agent James Morgan, center, read “Seed Soil Sun: Earth’s Recipe for Food” and provided seeds and soil for each child to plant a squash seed they took home to watch grow. GORDON COUNTY The Gordon County Farm Bureau (GCFB) Women’s and P&E Committees teamed up this spring with Payne Farm, owned by GCFB members Ann & Carla Payne to educate about 200 students from local schools how strawberries are planted, grown and harvested. School tours were held throughout the Georgia Farm Bureau News

HARRIS COUNTY Harris County Farm Bureau (HCFB) participated in a meeting the Georgia School Nutrition Association’s 3rd District held Feb. 11 at Harris County High School for school nutrition staff. HCFB Office Manager Linda Luttrell told the nutrition staff how she works with Harris County schools to educate students about how farmers grow their food and healthy eating habits. Luttrell and FFA students she recruited led the meeting attendees through several handson Ag in the Classroom activities, such as making edible dirt cups, that she does with students during her monthly Ag in the Classroom programs. HART COUNTY Hart County Farm Bureau sponsored an Easter egg hunt for local foster children at Redwine Church. After the hunt, HCFB Director William Cothran and his wife, Kathy, who is a member (Continued on next page) June-July 2017/ 27

(Continued from previous page) of the HCFB Women’s Committee, hosted a tour of their farm for the kids. The Easter bunny read the book “Tops & Bottoms,” and the children had the chance to feed the Cothrans' cows and tour the farm to learn how cattle are raised. Each child received a “Find My Farm” gift bag filled with Farm Bureau coloring books, crayons and peanuts.

schools attended. The students rotated through stations highlighting various ag topics. MCFB gave the students backpacks  and various businesses gave coupons to the students.  Murray County High School and North Murray High School FFA students served as team leaders for the event. Pilgrims Pride employees Lendal Dotson, Adam Willis and Keith Gibson talked to the students about raising chickens.

HENRY COUNTY Thanks to Henry County Farm Bureau (HCFB), about 3,000 third-grade students in the county know the growth cycle of corn from it being planted and harvested to being shipped to the grocery store or processed to make ethanol, drywall, adhesives or cosmetics. HCFB volunteers taught three different classes about the growth cycle of corn for nine days as part of the Henry County Water Authority’s Cubihatcha Kids Project. HCFB Director Charles Elliott, on tractor, and HCFB President Ross McQueen, right, talked to the students about the equipment farmers use to plant and harvest corn.

POLK COUNTY Polk County Farm Bureau (PCFB) hosted a series of Ag Outside the Classroom lessons at its county office April 25-May 1 for local kindergarten students. The PCFB team read the book “First Peas to the Table” and taught the 80 students how to plant pea seeds in cups that they took back to their classrooms to watch grow. Pictured from left, PCFB Agency Manager Jackie Casey, PCFB Directors Janice Stewart and Joan Mitchell and PCFB Office Manager Sue Cuzzort conduct one of the classes. PCFB President James Casey & Director Greg Mitchell, not pictured, also helped with the event.

JEFF DAVIS COUNTY Jeff Davis County Farm Bureau used the grant it received from the Georgia Farm Bureau Foundation for Agriculture to donate an egg incubator to the Jeff Davis Middle School FFA. The FFA program used it to hatch chicken and duck eggs to teach students about the life cycle of poultry. Pictured from left, JDCFB Office Manager Anna Smith, JDCFB Agency Manager Valerie Mason and JDCFB President James Emory Tate present the incubator to Jeff Davis Middle School Ag & FFA teacher Blake Jones. MURRAY COUNTY Murray County Farm Bureau (MCFB) held its annual Ag Day May 10. More than 600 fourth-grade students from all local 28 / June-July 2017

RABUN COUNTY Rabun County Farm Bureau (RCFB) hosted an Ag Day for local fifth-graders May 19. About 150 students had the chance to plant tomatoes, see live farm animals and watch a live milking demonstration during the event. RCFB Director Cliff Fisher, who raises chickens, manned the poultry station. RCFB Director Steve Cabe helped each student plant a tomato plant to take home. TALIAFERRO COUNTY Taliaferro County Farm Bureau Women’s Committee Chairman Jane Hubert read “If You Plant A Seed” by Kadir Nelson to pre-K students this spring at the Taliaferro County public library. After reading the book, the kids made a “paper garden” with paper carrots, lettuce and tomatoes in an activity designed to teach them Georgia Farm Bureau News

about vegetables. The participating students also received gift bags with crayons, pencils, coloring sheets of veggies and “My Plate is Georgia Grown” bookmarks that highlight the importance of eating vegetables.

Agriculture Awareness Week, March 20-24. The 14 ag community volunteers read an assortment of ag-related books to all kindergarten and second-grade classes at the school to educate the students about the role agriculture plays in their daily lives. The group donated more than 40 books to the school’s media center for teachers and students to check out or use at school.


Turner County Farm Bureau joined other ag organizations in the county to host Agriculture Literacy Day March 23 at the Turner County Elementary School, in celebration of Georgia PECAN CONFERENCE from page 12 cil will be used to increase domestic pecan consumption because that is what growers said they wanted the APC to focus on. “We want pecans to be seen as America’s nut that will be recognized as a premium product that commands a premium price based on health, taste, quality and overall experience,” Adams said. Adams said the APC is looking to establish a permanent office in the Dallas/ Fort Worth area. The APC Governance Committee has interviewed administrative consultants and public relations firms to staff the APC office and execute the APC’s marketing plan. The APC began collecting an assessment on the 2016 pecan crop at a rate of 3 cents per inshell pound on improved varieties of pecans, two cents per inshell pound on native, seedling and substandard pecans. “Without this marketing order we’re going to be in a world of hurt if we don’t have a home for all the pecans that are going to be produced on the new trees being planted,” Mason said. Georgia is well-represented on the APC. In addition to Mason, who serves on the APC as a grower representative and Willson, who represents shellers, other APC members from Georgia include: Buck Paulk of Ray City and Molly Willis of AlGeorgia Farm Bureau News

UPSON COUNTY Upson County Farm Bureau hosted Farm Days in May at Westwood Christian Academy (WCA) and Upson-Lee South Elementary (ULSE). The events were held for Pre-K through third-grade students at ULSE and Pre-K through fifth-graders at WCA. The students rotated through multiple stations where they learned about various farm animals, crops, forestry and plants.

bany who both represent growers; and Jeff Worn, of Valdosta, who represents shellers. Mason was elected to serve as APC secretary by the other APC representatives. APC grower alternates are Angie Ellis of Vienna, Randy Hudson of Ocilla and Claire Powell of Bainbridge. Sheller alternates are Brandon Harrell of Camilla and Kenny Tarver of Glennville.

Top 10 priorities for pecan growers Dr. Lenny Wells, an associate professor and UGA Extension horticulture specialist for pecans, shared his top 10 priorities for pecan production which are in order of importance: 1) water 2) well-drained soil 3) sunlight/air flow 4) nutrition 5) choose the varieties you grow based on your willingness to manage the production issues the variety has 6) disease/insect management 7) crop load management 8) weed management 9) not over managing & 10) spending time in the orchard. “Water is the number one priority for growing pecans,” Wells said. “Irrigation will do more for your productivity. It provides a 70 percent increase in yield on mature trees and helps immature trees grow. If you have to choose between fertilizer and irrigation, choose water.”

EMPLOYEES from page 17 A. If you love what you do and you work hard at it, you get a self-gratification from it; work will never feel like work if you can find that in your life. In 33 years at Georgia Farm Bureau, I have never once dreaded coming to work a single day, and that’s special. I have such an appreciation and love for the company and the people here. Q. Who has had the greatest impact on you during your time at GFB? A. I’ve had the pleasure of working with so many great people, it’s hard to not mention everyone that holds a place in my heart. However, there are three people that I’ve worked closely with over the years who mean a lot to me. I’ve known Jon Huffmaster ever since I started working here all those years ago. He taught me how to think outside the box, look at both sides of a situation. I’m a better decision-maker because of that. He challenged me to think differently, to really consider things from all sides. Jeffrey Harvey is such a compassionate person, and he is so passionate about what he does. This job and the people he works with are close to his heart and he sincerely wants to do a good job. Tas Smith and I have always had a great working relationship. Our friendship came about very easily and is certainly something I’m going to miss. June-July 2017/ 29

Photo by Sidney Middlebrooks

Kelloggs named to GFB Young Farmer Committee

Cobb County Farm Bureau members Guill and Chy Kellogg have been named to the Georgia Farm Bureau Young Farmer Committee. The Kelloggs, who moved to Georgia from Chicago in 2009, grow 18 different fruits and vegetables with plans to sell produce at farmers markets in the future. Chy runs a bakery, selling cookies, donuts, cupcakes and more. Guill has a bachelor’s degree in communication from Chicago State University. He works at Comcast as a business service quality analyst and is also a registered Georgia real estate appraiser. Chy studied at Kendall College School of Hospitality Management and Tourism. In addition to the bakery, she provides social media consulting for small businesses. The Kelloggs replace Ben and Rebecca Jacobs of Polk County on the committee to complete their term. The Jacobses stepped down when Rebecca was hired as the GFB 3rd District Field Representative June 5.

30 / June-July 2017

The Georgia Farm Bureau Young Farmer Committee sponsored the annual FFA Discussion Meet Career Development Event held April 28 during the 89th Georgia FFA Convention in Macon. The finalists were, pictured from left: Rachel Baker, Jackson County; state winner Courtney Conine, Mitchell County; Rebecca Wallace, of Cambridge High School in North Fulton County; and Guerin Brown, Greene County. Conine received a $500 savings bond and each finalist received a $250 savings bond. Area winners from across the state competed in the event patterned after Farm Bureau’s Young Farmer Discussion Meet. The discussion meet is designed to teach students the three fundamental basics of discussion: constructive criticism, cooperation and communication. Contestants are instructed to exchange ideas and information to solve a problem. GFB Young Farmer Committee members Dustin Covington, Justin Shealey and thenmember Rebecca Jacobs helped at the event. To read more about the Georgia FFA Convention and the many state awards presented visit

Photo by Sidney Middlebrooks

Photo by Andy Lucas

GFB YF Committee sponsors state FFA Discussion Meet

Georgia FFA officers visit GFB

The 2017-18 Georgia FFA officers visited Georgia Farm Bureau June 12. President Gerald Long met with the officers, pictured from left: Central Region Vice President Jake Harris, Harris County; State Secretary Hinkley Hood, Ware County; Central Region Vice President LauraBeth Bland, Bulloch County; State President Tucker Felkins, Bleckley County; North Region Vice President Brooks Fletcher, Oconee County; North Region Vice President Rebecca Wallace, North Fulton County, and South Region Vice President Tyler Robinson, Colquitt County. Not pictured is South Region Vice President KatiBeth Mims, Seminole County. During their visit to the GFB home office, the FFA officers learned about GFB’s Public Policy, Young Farmer, Ag in the Classroom, Public Relations and Member Services programs. Georgia Farm Bureau News

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Georgia Farm Bureau News - June / July 2017  

The Georgia Farm Bureau News has been the official publication of Georgia Farm Bureau since 1937. With the motto, “The Voice of Georgia Far...

Georgia Farm Bureau News - June / July 2017  

The Georgia Farm Bureau News has been the official publication of Georgia Farm Bureau since 1937. With the motto, “The Voice of Georgia Far...

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