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June 14, 2017

Vol. 35 No. 12

GFB FARM TOUR TAKES MEMBERS, TEACHERS TO SW GA 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. With stops in Turner, Decatur, Colquitt and Berrien counties, the tour group saw multiple you-pick farms and GFB Certified Farm Markets, as well as a massive pre-cooler that conditions corn as soon as it is harvested. “I think the most important thing is it shows the diversity we have in the state,” said GFB President Gerald Long, whose Decatur County YouPick farm was featured on the tour. “We’re one of the unusual states in the nation that we grow everything.” At Bob and Jim McLeod Farms in Wilcox County the group saw McLeods’ cantaloupe production. The tour stopped in Turner County at Calhoun Produce for a look at the Calhouns’ roadside market and agritourism stop. The next issue of Southern Grace Farms in Berrien County, run by Berrien County Farm GFB News Alert Bureau Vice President Tim McMillan, showed off its retail store and comes out cultivation of blackberries using moveable trellises. June 28. The group visited Southern Valley Farms in Colquitt County, a commercial-scale 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 pre-cooler 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 a group of 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.

GFB News Alert page 2 of 10 GFB NAMES JACOBS 3RD DISTRICT FIELD REPRESENTATIVE Rebecca Jacobs joined Georgia Farm Bureau as the organization’s 3rd District Field Representative on June 5. “We’re excited to have Rebecca join our Field Services Department and 3rd District leadership team,” said GFB President Gerald Long. “She has demonstrated passion for agriculture and we believe she’ll do an outstanding job serving our county Farm Bureaus and their members in the 3rd District.” Jacobs and her husband Bennett began serving on the GFB Young Farmer Committee in January. Due to Rebecca’s employment with GFB, they are stepping down from the committee. 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 Rebecca Jacobs finance from Montana State University and is active member of the Georgia Cattlemen’s Association, the Rockmart Farmers Market and Polk County Farm Bureau. She and Bennett live in Rockmart with their children, Aubrey and Nolan. The GFB 3rd District includes county Farm Bureaus in Carroll, Clayton, Cobb, Douglas, Fayette, North Fulton, South Fulton, Gwinnett, Haralson, Henry, Paulding, Polk and Rockdale/DeKalb counties. KELLY THOMPSON NAMED CFM COORDINATOR 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 bachelor’s and master’s degrees in agribusiness. 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 served internships with the Georgia Department of Agriculture and the UGA Cooperative Extension. Thompson’s studies took her to multiple foreign countries, including Kelly Thompson 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

GFB News Alert page 3 of 10 GFB ACCEPTING COMMODITY COMMITTEE NOMINATIONS Georgia Farm Bureau (GFB) is taking nominations for spots on its 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. There are 20 GFB Commodity Ccommittees. Every 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; vegetables and water. All counties within each district may nominate members to serve on a GFB Commodity Advisory 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 478-474-0679, ext. 5217. GEORGIA BEEF PRODUCERS APPROVE CONTINUATION OF STATE CHECKOFF Georgia beef producers overwhelmingly voted to continue the $1 per head assessment for beef animals through the renewal of the Georgia Beef Commission Marketing Order. The vote to support the Georgia Agriculture Commodity Commission for Beef was approved with an 80.7 percent favorable vote of the ballots returned. 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. Funds from the assessment are 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.

GFB News Alert page 4 of 10 WATERS RETIRING AS VIDALIA ONION COMMITTEE EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR The Vidalia Onion Committee (VOC) announced on June 7 that Executive Director Susan Waters is retiring from the organization that oversees marketing, promotion and research for the popular sweet onion grown in the mild climate and unique soil conditions in Toombs and surrounding counties. Bob Stafford, the director of the Vidalia Onion Business Council, has been named interim executive director while the VOC launches a national search for Waters’ successor. Waters had served as VOC executive director since 2013. “We are very grateful and appreciative for Susan’s leadership over the past four years,” said VOC Chairman Troy Bland. “We are fortunate that Bob Stafford will be able to step in while we look for a new leader to handle the day-to-day operations of the committee.” Susan Waters Waters joined the VOC seven years ago initially serving as the executive assistant to a former executive director before assuming the top role. Stafford is a veteran agriculture industry executive having spent 34 years with various state departments of agriculture. He is a member of Vidalia Onion Hall of Fame and a member of the Georgia Agriculture Vidalia Onion Advisory panel. The VOC launched its 2017 season April 12 and is celebrating the silver anniversary of the State of Georgia’s ownership of the Vidalia onion trademark. The committee also launched a new marketing campaign, “Only Vidalia” to highlight the provenance of the Vidalia onion that has been hand crafted by grower artisans for more than 80 years in Georgia. FSA COUNTY COMMITTEE NOMINATIONS OPEN JUNE 15 The USDA’s Farm Service Agency (FSA) will begin accepting nominations for its county committees on June 15. County committees are made up of farmers and ranchers elected by other producers in their communities to guide the delivery of farm programs at the local level. Committee members play a critical role in the day-to-day operations of FSA. Committees consist of three to 11 members and meet once a month or as needed to make important decisions on disaster and conservation programs, emergency programs, commodity price support loan programs, county office employment and other agricultural issues. Members serve three-year terms. Nationwide there are more than 7,700 farmer and ranchers serving on FSA county committees. Farmers and ranchers may nominate themselves or others. Organizations, including those representing beginning, women and minority producers, may also nominate candidates to better serve their communities. To be eligible to serve on an FSA county committee, a person must participate or cooperate in an agency administered program, and reside in the local administrative area where the election is being held. After the nomination period, candidates will encourage the eligible producers in their local administrative area to vote. FSA will mail election ballots to eligible voters beginning Nov. 6, 2017. Ballots will be due back to the local county office either via mail or in person by Dec. 4, 2017. Newly-elected committee members and alternates will take office on Jan. 1, 2018. To become a candidate, an eligible individual must sign an FSA-669A nomination form. The form and other information about FSA county committee elections are available at All nomination forms for the 2017 election must be postmarked or received in the local FSA office by Aug. 1. Locate your local office at and visit to get more information.

GFB News Alert page 5 of 10 U.S. HOUSE PASSES BILL TO CLARIFY PESTICIDE USE REGULATIONS On May 24, the U.S. House approved a bill, supported by Georgia Farm Bureau and the American Farm Bureau Federation (AFBF), clarifying congressional intent regarding regulation of the use of pesticides in or near navigable waters. The Reducing Regulatory Burdens Act of 2017 (H.R. 953) is narrowly crafted to clarify that lawful use of pesticides in or near navigable waters is not excessively covered under two statutes, the Clean Water Act and the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA). The bill passed by a 256-165 vote. Georgia U.S. Reps. Rick Allen, Sanford Bishop, Buddy Carter, Doug Collins, Drew Ferguson, Tom Graves, Jody Hice, Barry Loudermilk, Austin Scott, David Scott and Rob Woodall all voted in favor of the bill, which awaits consideration in the Senate. “This is an important fix that will reduce red tape and legal liabilities associated with the lawful use of pesticides in protecting public health and food security,” AFBF President Zippy Duvall said. AFBF maintains that the legislation codifies EPA’s longstanding interpretation of the law before it was thrown into confusion by a 2009 court ruling, which imposed an additional layer of needless red tape on pesticide applicators. The Reducing Regulatory Burdens Act corrects the duplicative requirements associated with EPA’s National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) pesticide permit by specifying that NPDES permits are not needed for the lawful application of EPA-labeled pesticides. FDA INTENDS TO EXTEND COMPLIANCE DATES FOR PRODUCE SAFETY RULE On June 6, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) announced it intends to extend the compliance dates for agricultural water requirements in the produce safety rule, except for sprouts. The length of the extension is under consideration. Earlier this year, the FDA said it is exploring ways to simplify the agricultural water standards established by the produce safety rule, one of several rules established by the FDA in accordance with the Food Safety Modernization Act’s (FSMA). The FDA is taking these steps after receiving feedback from stakeholders that some of the requirements are too complex to understand and implement. According to a public statement, the FDA intends to use the extended deadline to work with stakeholders as it considers the best approach to address their concerns while still protecting public health. The extended compliance dates will also give farms an opportunity to continue to review their practices, processes and procedures related to agricultural water and how it is used on their farms. The produce safety rule sets microbial quality standards for agricultural water, including irrigation water that comes into contact with produce.

GFB News Alert page 6 of 10 GA FFA STUDENTS PICKED FOR NEW CENTURY CONFERENCE, IRELAND TOUR Four Georgia FFA students have been selected to participate in the National FFA Organization New Century Farmer Conference and a fifth Georgia FFA student, who won a national FFA award, is touring agricultural sites in Ireland. The National FFA Organization selected 50 outstanding young people to participate in the 2017 New Century Farmer conference July 16-22 in Johnstown, Iowa. The 2017 New Century Farmers from Georgia are: Levi Davis of Houston County; Jay Moon of Morgan County; Hillary Pope of Screven County and Bryan Tucker of Ben Hill County. This exclusive, highly competitive program develops young men and women committed to pursuing a career in production agriculture. Participants will learn from each other and industry experts during a series of workshops and sessions. Topics will include the global marketplace, farm financing, demographic trends and risk management. New Century Farmers will hear from motivating and informative keynote speakers who will educate them on the risks and rewards involved with production agriculture. In addition to classroom learning, students will experience the latest developments in agricultural technology. Joseph Boddiford of Screven County is one of 52 national FFA award winners touring agricultural sites in Ireland this week. Participants were selected from the 188 National FFA Agricultural Proficiency Award finalists and the 16 American Star Award national finalists named last October at the 89th National FFA Convention & Expo in Indianapolis. The international experience, as well as cash awards and plaques, are made possible by business and industry contributions to the National FFA Foundation. The participants are visiting dairy, sheep, mussel and potato farms and a water buffalo dairy, historic beef farms, Blarney Castle and the 650-foot Cliffs of Moher. During the trip, students have an opportunity to experience global agriculture and the culture of the Emerald Isle. The international travel experience is an educational study trip designed to introduce award participants to agriculture as it is practiced in other countries. FIRE IN OKEFENOKEE NWR IS 85 PERCENT CONTAINED A fire started by lightning in the Okefenokee National Wildlife Refuge (NWR) had burned 152,515 acres of forestland and was 85 percent contained as of June 11, according to information issued by state and federal agencies working to contain the fire. The agencies indicated that personnel will continue to patrol and monitor the fire until it is fully contained. Visitor access to the Okefenokee Park was fully restored on June 8. Boat access to the Okefenokee via the Stephen C. Foster State Park near Fargo will resume once water levels can support boat access. Please contact Stephen C. Foster State Park at 912-637-5274 for the most upto-date information on visitor opportunities available at this location. The overnight canoe stops will remain closed as water levels are low in the Okefenokee. The West Mims Fire was initially reported on April 6. It straddled the Georgia-Florida state line southeast of Fargo, Ga., approximately 2.5 miles northeast of Eddy Tower. The fire is currently located within the Okefenokee National Wildlife Refuge, Florida’s John M. Bethea State Forest, and Osceola National Forest. Updates are available on the Okefenokee National Wildlife Refuge Facebook page at

GFB News Alert page 7 of 10 GFB FOUNDATION FOR AGRICULTURE GRANTS June 30 deadline to apply County Farm Bureaus, 4-H Clubs and FFA Chapters have until June 30 to apply for grants of up to $500 the Georgia Farm Bureau Foundation for Agriculture is offering to fund activities and projects that will improve students’ or consumers’ understanding of agriculture or offer leadership development for members of the ag community. The foundation is offering 10 grants to county Farm Bureaus in amounts up to $500. County Farm Bureaus should visit to apply. Four grants of $500 each will be awarded to 4-H Clubs or FFA Chapters to support leadership development and ag literacy projects conducted by the student organizations. Visit for the 4-H and FFA grant application. Visit for examples of projects that qualify for the grants and for complete guidelines. Contact Katie Gazda, executive director of the foundation, with questions regarding the application or selection process at or 478-474-0679, ext. 5230. AFBF RURAL ENTREPRENEURSHIP CHALLENGE June 30 deadline for entries The American Farm Bureau Federation is accepting online applications for its fourth Rural Entrepreneurship Challenge. Entrepreneurs will compete for $145,000 in startup funds. The competition provides an opportunity for individuals to showcase ideas and business innovations that benefit rural regions of the United States. It is the first national rural business competition focused exclusively on innovative entrepreneurs working on food and agriculture businesses. Competitors are invited to submit for-profit business ideas related to food and agriculture online at The final four teams will compete in a live competition at AFBF’s 99th Annual Convention in Nashville on Jan. 7 for Farm Bureau Entrepreneur of the Year award and $30,000 (chosen by judges), People’s Choice award and $25,000 (chosen by public vote), First runner-up prize, $15,000 and Second runner-up prize, $15,000 CROP INSURANCE DEADLINE NEARS FOR GA CABBAGE GROWERS July 1 deadline to apply Current policyholders who wish to make changes to their existing coverage also have until the July 1 sales closing date to do so. Coverage for cabbage is available in Brooks, Colquitt, Tift, and Toombs counties. Crop insurance is a key component of the farm safety net as it provides protection against a loss in production due to natural perils, such as drought or excessive moisture. The RMA provides policies for more than 100 crops as well as organic price elections for 78 crops. Growers are encouraged to visit their crop insurance agent to learn specific details for the 2018 crop year. A list of crop insurance agents is available at all USDA Service Centers and online at Growers can use the RMA Cost Estimator at to get a premium amount estimate of their insurance needs online. For more information about the Risk Management Agency and crop insurance, visit

GFB News Alert page 8 of 10 SUNBELT EXPO FIELD DAY July 13 Sunbelt Ag Expo/Spence Field 7:15 a.m. Moultrie World-renowned research by University of Georgia’s College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences scientists will be featured at this year’s Sunbelt Field Day in Moultrie. More than 600 acres of agricultural research conducted by various UGA commodity teams, as well as industry scientists, will be on display during the field day, which is set for July 13, at the Darrell Williams Research Farm, located at the Sunbelt Agricultural Expo site at Spence Field in Moultrie. The event is free and registration will begin at 7:15 a.m. Trams depart for the field tours at 8 a.m. and the event concludes at noon. For more information visit GEORGIA AGRIBUSINESS COUNCIL HARVEST CELEBRATION Nov. 17 Cobb Galleria Center Atlanta Country music powerhouse Restless Heart will serve as entertainment for this annual event. The Harvest Celebration is key to the advocacy efforts of the Council. Early Bird ticket Purchasers will be entered into a drawing for one of 12 great prizes! These include a one-night's stay on Nov. 17 at the Renaissance Waverly Hotel; one of three Field of Dreams ticket books; or one of eight autographed items from Restless Heart. This Early Bird promotion ends Aug. 18. For more information or to purchase tickets, visit 2017 AGAWARE WORKSHOP Aug. 25 Burke County Office Park Waynesboro AgSouth Farm Credit and AgGeorgia Farm Credit are hosting this workshop to give farmers a better understanding of how to approach their finances. Topics covered in the program include: balance sheets; income statements; family finance & family budgeting; risk management; accrual income; applying for financing and preparing a business plan. Bonus videos on recordkeeping, marketing and technology will be available for continued education. To register visit 22nd ANNUAL LUMBER CITY FARM DAY FESTIVAL Sept. 9 & 10 Lumber City Saturday’s events include a Fun Run & 5K race, arts/crafts, food vendors, a parade and live entertainment. A community church service will be held Sept. 10. For more information or to register for the race visit or call Jeanette Ban at 912-363-4643 or email GEORGIA FARM TO SCHOOL SUMMIT Oct. 5 & 6 Helms College Augusta The Farm to School Summit connects schools, early care centers, and local farms and distributors to serve and champion healthy, local meals in cafeterias, improve student nutrition, and increase farm and gardening educational opportunities. This year’s Summit welcomes farmers, teachers, early care educators and administrators, school nutrition staff, students, parents, and others interested in learning more about Georgia’s farm to school movement. Highlights include the opening keynote address from national farm to school leader Betti Wiggins of Detroit Public Schools, closing keynote address from Burke County School Nutrition Director and Presidentelect of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics Donna Martin, workshops, educational sessions and networking. For more information visit

GFB News Alert page 9 of 10 ASA DUPONT YOUNG LEADER PROGRAM Applications are being accepted for the ASA DuPont Young Leader program, a challenging and educational two-part training program. Phase I of the 2017–18 program will take place at the DuPont Pioneer headquarters in Johnston, Iowa, Nov. 28–30, 2017. The program continues Feb. 25–28, 2018 in Anaheim, Calif. in conjunction with the annual Commodity Classic Convention and Trade Show. Soybean grower couples and individuals are encouraged to apply for the program which focuses on leadership and communication, the latest agricultural information and the development of a strong peer network. ASA, its 26 state affiliates, including the Grain Farmers of Ontario and DuPont, will work together to identify the top producers to represent their state as part of this program. To apply, visit FARM BUREAU-AFFILIATED FARMERS MARKETS COBB COUNTY FARM BUREAU FARMERS MARKET Tuesdays 3 p.m.-7 p.m. Lost Mountain Park Powder Springs Cobb County Farm Bureau (CCFB) in cooperation with Cobb County Parks & Recreation is hosting this farmers market. CCFB is offering vendor space to farmers, growers, and producers in Cobb and surrounding counties, with the goal of offering locally grown food to the community. Each vendor must be a Farm Bureau member. Vendor fees are only $5 per week, with a discount for paying in full for the entire market season. For more information contact us at or Debbie Payne at or 770-943-3531. MONROE FARMERS MARKET Saturdays until Oct. 7 8:30 a.m. – 12:30 p.m. Court Street, Downtown Monroe This market, sponsored in part by Walton County Farm Bureau, will feature fresh produce and goods from local farmers, work from local artisans and family friendly activities. For more information visit WOODSTOCK FARM FRESH MARKET Saturdays through September 8:30 am to Noon. Woodstock Located on Market Street in Downtown Woodstock, the market features vendors who grow at least 85 percent of the product they sell. The Cherokee County Farm Bureau is partnering with the market to bring special events to the market throughout the 2017 season. For more information call 770-924-0406 or visit CANTON FARMERS MARKET Through Oct. 28 Saturdays 9 a.m.-1 p.m., Cannon Park Canton This market features 100 percent GA Grown produce and handcrafted items. Cherokee County Farm Bureau will hold an event once a month at the market promoting watermelon day, apple day, peach day etc.

GFB News Alert page 10 of 10 ROCKDALE/DEKALB FARM BUREAU FARMERS MARKET Tuesdays & Saturdays 8 a.m. – noon, RDCFB office Conyers The Rockdale/DeKalb Farm Bureau Farmers Market will be held at 1400 Parker Rd. SE in Conyers. The public is invited to stop by and shop for fresh, locally grown vegetables, dairy products, crafts and more. The market is expected to run into late summer or early fall when produce production ends. For more information contact the Rockdale/DeKalb County Farm Bureau office at 770-922-3566. UNION COUNTY FARMERS MARKET Tuesdays 2 p.m. – 6 p.m. Saturdays 7 a.m. – 1 p.m., 148 Old Smokey Road Blairsville The public is welcome to shop for fresh, locally grown vegetables from local farmers. For more information contact Mickey Cummings or Kristy Peney at 706-781-8802 or visit Union County Farm Bureau will sponsor a tractor show at the market Labor Day weekend. SHIELDS-ETHRIDGE HERITAGE FARM CULTIVATORS MARKET July 1, Aug. 5, Sept. 2 & Oct. 21 9 a.m. – 1 p.m. 2355 Ethridge Rd. Jefferson Jackson County Farm Bureau (JCFB) sponsors this monthly open-air market that features local farmers and entrepreneurs selling products they make or grow in a festival atmosphere. Market held rain or shine. The Shields-Ethridge Heritage Farm is an outdoor ag museum that functions as an educational and interpretative facility. Proceeds from the market will be used for restoration projects at the farm. If you are interested in having a booth at the market, contact JCFB Office Manager Denise Temple at or call 706-367-8877 or visit to complete an application online. PAULDING COUNTY FARM BUREAU FARMERS MARKET Thursdays through Oct. 26 3 p.m.-7 p.m., 549 Hardee St. Dallas Paulding County Farm Bureau (PCFB) is accepting vendors for its weekly farmers market that will be held at the PCFB office starting in mid-June. Visit the market’s Facebook page( for weekly updates. Vendors will sell locally grown produce and other ag commodities or homemade crafts. There is no fee to participate but vendors must be Farm Bureau members. To participate in the market, contact Tracy Grice at 770-445-6681 or email her at

Georgia Farm Bureau News Alert - June 14, 2017  

In this week's GFB News Alert... GFB members and teachers from around the state visited ag operations in South Georgia during a recent farm...

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