June 11, 2014
Vol. 32 No. 23
GFB LAUNCHES CAMPAIGN AGAINST PROPOSED EPA WATER RULE Georgia Farm Bureau has launched a campaign to get the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to rescind a proposed rule that would expand federal regulatory authority over virtually all water in the United States by changing the definition of “waters of the United States” in the Clean Water Act (CWA). GFB is asking its members to contact their congressmen and senators and submit comments regarding the proposed rule. While elected officials had little direct input into this specific rule, Congress controls the budget and Congress created these agencies. If these agencies are to be brought back within reasonable limits, it is up to Congress to rein them in. The deadline to submit public comments is Oct. 20. Members can submit comments by visiting http://www.gfb.org/ditchtherule. The page also includes additional information about the rule and links to other resources for explanations about the proposed rule. Your comments matter. The original comment deadline of July 21 was extended after the agencies received numerous requests for an extension. GFB contends that the rule infringes on the private property rights of landowners and will make it easier for the EPA and Corps of Engineers to regulate all land. Further, the proposed rule ignores the will of Congress and two U.S. Supreme Court decisions. Georgia Farm Bureau opposes the rule because it expands federal regulatory authority to include small and remote waters, including waters, which are dry for most of the year. According to the preamble to the proposed rule, “The agencies propose that all waters that meet the proposed definition of tributary are ‘waters of the United States’… in other words, the agencies are asserting that all tributaries have a significant nexus [connection] with traditional navigable waters, interstate waters, and/or the territorial seas.” The agencies conclude that since a trickle of water in the smallest branch will eventually end up in the ocean, that trickle is part of the U.S. territorial seas. It also means that a small, seasonal spring, insufficient to float a child’s toy, will be considered a navigable water. EPA contends the rule will not expand federal authority, only clarify it. The nonpartisan Congressional Research Service, however, noted in an April 21 report on the rule that “proposed changes would increase the asserted scope of CWA jurisdiction, in part as a result of expressly declaring some types of waters categorically jurisdictional (such as all waters adjacent to a jurisdictional water), and also by application of new definitions, which gives larger regulatory context to some types of waters, such as tributaries.”
Leadership Alert page 2 of 6 USDA TAKING NOMINATIONS FOR PEANUT STANDARDS BOARD The USDA is seeking nominations for peanut producers and industry representatives to serve on the Peanut Standards Board. The board consists of 18 members with representation equally divided between peanut producers and industry representatives. Representation is divided among three regions: the Southeast (Alabama, Georgia and Florida), the Southwest (Texas, Oklahoma and New Mexico) and Virginia/North Carolina. Each region has three producer seats and three industry representative seats with staggered terms. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack will appoint one producer and one industry representative from each region to succeed members whose terms expire on June 30. The six new members will serve terms ending on June 30, 2017. The deadline to submit nominations is July 14. The 2002 farm bill established the Peanut Standards Board to consult with USDA regarding quality and handling standards for domestically produced and imported peanuts. The board plays a key role in representing the U.S. peanut industry on issues affecting quality and marketability. For nominating forms and additional information, visit: http://www.ams.usda.gov/PeanutStandardsBoard. PEDv RE-INFECTION POSSIBLE; RUSSIA BANS IMPORTS OF U.S. HOGS An Indiana hog farm has experienced a second outbreak of Porcine Epidemic Diarrhea virus (PEDv), according to a May 28 report from Indiana Public Media. It was previously thought that hogs would be immune to the virus after the initial exposure. The report indicated that the virus has killed as many as 7 million pigs nationwide. The U.S. outbreak of PEDv is beginning to have an international effect. The Russian government recently announced the suspension of imports of live hogs from the U.S. due to the outbreak of PEDv. Pork and pork products were not discussed as part of the suspension. Analysis by American Farm Bureau Federation economists indicates the overall influence of the ban on hog markets is likely to be minimal. In 2013, the U.S. shipped a total of 2,526 hogs to Russia and trade data shows that no live animals had been shipped to Russia so far in 2014. In 2012, the U.S. live hog exports to Russia came in at 3,094 animals. Overall, pork and pork product exports to Russia are off substantially from 2013 levels with year to date quantity and values off 83 and 85 percent respectively, despite an 11 percent increase in both for the U.S. on a global basis. Meanwhile, the USDA has assigned $26.2 million in funding to combat PEDv and other diseases affecting swine herds, and has issued a federal order requiring the reporting of new detections of these viruses to the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) or state animal health officials. The order also requires that farms and facilities reporting these viruses work with their veterinarian or USDA or state animal health officials to develop and implement a reasonable management plan to address the detected virus and prevent its spread. The PEDv virus does not pose any risk to human health or food safety, and is commonly detected in countries around the world. For full details of the federal order and program requirements, along with a Q&A about PEDv, visit the APHIS website at: http://www.aphis.usda.gov/animal-health/secd.
Leadership Alert page 3 of 6 AG EXPORTS FORECAST TO APPROACH $150 BILLION IN 2014 The USDA released its Outlook for U.S. Agricultural Trade report on May 29. The report projects that fiscal year 2014 agricultural exports will reach $149.5 billion, an estimated $6.9 billion higher than previous estimates and, if realized, a new record for American agricultural exports. The report indicates that the record growth is due not just to rising prices, which have driven export numbers in the past, but also to an increase in the volume of U.S. agricultural exports, which is projected to increase by 31 percent between fiscal years 2013 and 2014. In fiscal year 2013 agricultural exports reached $140.9 billion and supported nearly one million jobs here at home. Fiscal years 2009 to 2013 represent the strongest five years in history for agricultural trade, with U.S. agricultural product exports totaling $619 billion over those five years. Agriculture remains one of the few economic sectors with more exports than imports. The U.S. is expected to import $110 billion in agricultural products in 2014, leaving a trade surplus of $39 billion. To view the USDA’s May Outlook for U.S. Agricultural Trade, visit http://tinyurl.com/agtrade. USDA STRIKEFORCE ASSISTANCE AVAILABLE IN 60 GEORGIA COUNTIES The USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service will target more than $1.5 million this year in technical and financial conservation assistance for Georgia farmers, ranchers and forest landowners in persistent poverty rural areas. StrikeForce for Rural Growth and Opportunity is a USDA effort that focuses high-priority assistance in rural communities in 20 states with a special emphasis on historically underserved farmers, ranchers and communities in counties with persistent poverty. Since 2010, USDA has partnered through StrikeForce with more than 400 community organizations, businesses, foundations, universities and other groups to support 80,300 projects and usher more than $9.7 billion in investments into rural America. Georgia has participated in the program from the start, serving as one of the original pilot states. “Although USDA is always available to help these producers, the targeted funding through StrikeForce, along with the pooling of public resources and local expertise, is continuing to grow rural economies,” said Georgia’s Acting State Conservationist Greg Kist. “This is a strategy that is working in rural America, and I am pleased that we continue to build on these efforts to bring assistance to Georgia’s 60-county StrikeForce region that needs it the most.” Through StrikeForce, NRCS is now working with 80 percent more farmers and ranchers in the identified persistent poverty counties and has invested a total of $652 million in targeted conversation funding since 2010. Producers can visit their local USDA Service Center and apply anytime for StrikeForce conversation assistance through the 2014 farm bill’s Environmental Quality Incentives Program. Producers can work with NRCS on a number of conservation activities, including: installing cross-fencing to protect soil and help cattle; using prescribed burning to enhance a forest; or installing a more efficient irrigation system to conserve water.
Leadership Alert page 4 of 6 UGA COTTON SCOUT SCHOOL June 17 Southeastern Research & Ed Center Midville UGA entomologists Phillip Roberts and Michael Toews will lead this free training, designed to teach individuals about cotton growth and development, the structures of a cotton plant, pest insects, beneficial insects and how to report information to a grower. The session will begin at 9 a.m. in a classroom and conclude with a short field trip, adjourning at 12:30 p.m. No registration is required. For more information about cotton scouting or any other cotton related topic, visit http://www.ugacotton.com. BEGINNING FARMER AND RANCHER GRANTS June 12 Deadline to apply for FY2014 The Beginning Farmer and Rancher Development Program (BFRDP) assists new farmers and ranchers through grants to organizations that offer education, training and mentoring programs. The 2014 farm bill provides $19.2 million in grants under the BFRDP. Standard grants directly serve beginning farmers and ranchers; each can be up to $250,000 per year for up to 3 years. Educational Enhancements grant develop resources and provide coordination and support to standard grants for a particular topic or region. One Clearinghouse grant for a national site to house curricula, training materials, and other information for new farmers and ranchers and organizations that work with them. Visit http://www.nifa.usda.gov/fo/beginningfarmersandranchers.cfm for more information. EISENHOWER FELLOWS ACCEPTING AGRICULTURE APPLICATIONS Recruitment is currently open and will end on June 13 for Eisenhower Fellowships, the premier international leadership organization chaired by General Colin L. Powell, USA (Ret). Eisenhower Fellowships is seeking active farmers or ranchers to take part in a unique international opportunity. If you are a leader in agriculture, and could benefit from international exposure and a world class network to enhance your leadership role, you are invited to apply for an Eisenhower Agriculture Fellowship. For more information, and application materials, visit: http://www.efworld.org/our-programs/usa. GEORGIA GROWN FARMERS SHOWCASE June 14 Savannah Farmers Market 8 a.m. – 4:30 p.m. Savannah June 28 Atlanta Farmers Market 8 a.m. – 4:30 p.m. Atlanta Sept. 6 Moultrie Farmers Market 8 a.m. – 4:30 p.m. Moultrie These family-friendly events feature numerous vendors from around the state, with a wide variety of products from Georgia farms. For more information about the Georgia Grown program, visit http://www.georgiagrown.com. GEORGIA FORESTRY ASSOCIATION ANNUAL CONFERENCE July 19-21 Westin Resort Hilton Head Island, S.C. Duncan Davies, president and CEO of International Forest Products Inc., will provide the keynote address at this annual event, which offers educational and networking opportunities for forest landowners, forest industry professionals and forest-based businesses. Continuing education credits are available, and session topics include a post-recession outlook, succession and estate planning, and forest advocacy. Registration until June 18 is $375 for GFA members, $450 for non-members and $190 for spouses, guests and teens. For more information or to register, visit http://www.gfagrow.org/annualconference.
Leadership Alert page 5 of 6 NRCS FINANCIAL ASSISTANCE SIGNUP FOR N. GA. IRRIGATION PILOT Farmers and landowners, who wish to conserve and preserve water through the North Georgia Irrigation Pilot Program (NGIPP) have until June 20 to apply. The two areas of improvement are water conservation and water quantity. The NGIPP provides both technical and financial assistance to farmers interested in improving the water quality and quantity of their operation. Applicable counties are; Banks, Barrow, Butts, Carroll, Clarke, Clayton, Cobb, Coweta, Dawson, DeKalb, Douglas, Elbert, Fayette, Forsyth, Franklin, Fulton, Greene, Gwinnett, Habersham, Hall, Haralson, Hart, Heard, Henry, Jackson, Jasper, Lamar, Lumpkin, Madison, Meriwether, Monroe, Morgan, Newton, Oconee, Oglethorpe, Paulding, Pike, Putnam, Rockdale, Spalding, Stephens, Troup, Upson, Walton, White and Wilkes. For more information about NRCS’ programs, initiatives and services in Georgia, visit us online at http://www.ga.nrcs.usda.gov or visit your local NRCS office. Applications are due by June 20. SUNBELT EXPO FIELD DAY July 10 Sunbelt Ag Expo Farm, Spence Field Moultrie This free event gives farmers a chance to see the crops and research projects being conducted at the Expo farm on seed varieties, irrigation, crop protection, precision ag technology, soil fertility and organic farming. University researchers and ag company representatives conducting the trials will give presentations on their research. Registration for door prizes begins at 7:15 a.m. followed by a free biscuit breakfast and welcome from Georgia Farm Bureau and Georgia Dept. of Agriculture representatives. Trams will depart for field tours at 8 a.m. sharp. Tours will end by noon. Attendees will receive a grab & go BBQ lunch courtesy of Ameris Bank. Due to a renewed interest in crop dusting, an aerial application demonstration will be held after the field tours sponsored by Thrush Aircraft, Eagle Vistas and WinField Solutions. GEORGIA JUNIOR CATTLEMEN’S ASSOCIATION FIELD DAY July 10 Georgia National Fairgrounds & Agricenter 9 a.m. Perry This one-day event features tracks for ages 10 & under, 11-14 and 15 & over. Registration is $15 until July 1 and $20 onsite for GJCA members. Non-members are required to join the GJCA; annual dues are $15. Field day stations include Beef Quality Assurance certification, stockman’s quiz, scholarship tips & tricks, careers in ag, a hula hoop contest, photo booth and more. For more information call 478-474-6560. MASTER GOAT FARMER CERTIFICATION TRAINING Aug. 5 – Sept. 9 Camp Fulton Truitt College Park This six-week course, sponsored by the UGA Cooperative Extension in Fulton County, provides training for goat producers on topics related to managing and producing goats for meat. Topics include nutrition, body condition scoring, goat selection, breeds, reproduction & kidding, hoof trimming, health & diseases, pasture management, basic dairy goat management, goat handling equipment, fencing displays, parasitology and business & marketing. Classes meet on Tuesday, with refreshments served at 6 p.m. followed by class from 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. Class size is limited to 75 participants. Registration deadline is July 11. Cost is $100, which includes study materials, refreshments, a t-shirt and graduation certificate. Camp Fulton Truitt is located at 4300 Herschel Rd. in College Park. To register, contact the Fulton County Extension office at 404-762-4077.
Leadership Alert page 6 of 6 ASA DUPONT YOUNG LEADER PROGRAM The American Soybean Association (ASA) and DuPont are seeking applicants for the 2015 ASA DuPont Young Leader Program. The deadline to apply is Aug. 1. The program is a challenging and educational two-part training program. Phase 1 will take place at the DuPont Pioneer headquarters in Johnston, Iowa, Nov. 18-21, 2014. The program continues Feb. 24-28, 2015, in Phoenix, Ariz., with training held in conjunction with the 20th annual Commodity Classic Convention and Trade Show. The ASA DuPont Young Leader Program offers the opportunity for participants to strengthen their natural leadership skills, expand their agricultural knowledge and develop strong peer relationships with other soybean growers from across the country. To apply visit http://soygrowers.com/learn/young-leader-program/. One couple or individual per state will be selected to participate. For information, contact Christine Luelf at 314-754-1291 or firstname.lastname@example.org. NORTHWEST GEORGIA MASTER CATTLEMEN’S PROGRAM Sept. 8 – Oct. 27 Carroll County Ag Center Carrollton This eight-week course will meet on Mondays from 6:30 pm. to 8:30 p.m. Each week’s class focuses on a single aspect of beef cattle production, including nutrition, forages, reproduction, herd health, economics and marketing, Beef Quality Assurance, the Georgia Cattlemen’s Association, livestock facilities sire selection and record keeping. Participants who attend six of the eight classes will receive a certificate of completion and a UGA Master Cattlemen’s cap. Registration is $60 per person and includes a dinner on the final night. Advance registration deadline is Aug. 25. For more information contact Jason Duggin at 706-624-1403 or email@example.com or Paula Burke at 770-836-8546 or firstname.lastname@example.org.