June 19, 2013
Vol. 31 No. 25
FARM BUREAU URGES PASSAGE OF IMMIGRATION REFORM As the Senate considers more than 150 amendments to the comprehensive immigration reform bill, Georgia Farm Bureau has joined a group of 24 regional and state ag stakeholder organizations in urging Sens. Saxby Chambliss and Johnny Isakson to support the bill. While the House has a bill setting up an agricultural guest worker program, the bill before the Senate, the Border Security, Economic Opportunity and Immigration Modernization Act (S. 744), appears the best chance to move toward meaningful reform for the first time in more than two decades. “We’ve maintained our policy stand that it’s a federal issue and not a state issue, and now we have an environment where policy makers want to talk about immigration reform. We need that bill to pass the Senate to be able to continue that discussion,” GFB President Zippy Duvall said during a June 14 visit with county Farm Bureau leaders in South Georgia. Without the passage of S. 744, farmers’ struggles to access migrant laborers could continue for several years with the continuation of the current system. In the ag organizations’ June 7 letter to Chambliss and Isakson, the groups emphasized that point. “We believe it is vital to move this legislation through the Senate to keep the immigration reform process alive,” the letter said. “The important thing at this point is for legislation to emerge from both chambers that can be reconciled in conference to ensure a workable, flexible and market-based solution to address our labor needs.” Duvall was invited to write a guest editorial that was published in the Atlanta JournalConstitution on June 13. In it, he outlined the difficulties farmers face in acquiring adequate labor, from the physical nature of the work to the burdensome requirements of the H-2A program. “If the Senate fails to act, the American people will keep the same flawed immigration policy we have right now,” Duvall wrote. “Nobody will be happy with that.” While S. 744 tackles issues related to border security, it also addresses farm labor, setting up a “blue card” program that allows experienced agricultural workers the opportunity to obtain legal immigration status. In a related development on the House agricultural guest worker bill (H.R. 1773), American Farm Bureau President Bob Stallman wrote to House Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte (R-Va.) on June 17 voicing Farm Bureau’s unequivocal support for passage of the bill. The committee was scheduled to mark up the guest worker bill, as well as the SAFE Act, a bill to modify the interior enforcement of U.S. immigration laws.
Leadership Alert page 2 of 6 GFB LEADERS HOST BREAKFAST WITH STATE SENATOR BURKE State Senator Dean Burke (R-Bainbridge) visited with Georgia Farm Bureau members from around his district on June 14 at Grady County Farm Bureau, where he was treated to a biscuit breakfast and presented with information about GFB’s organizational structure, the UGA Cooperative Extension and key issues related to agriculture in Southwest Georgia and around the state. UGA Cooperative Extension Southwest District Director Laura Perry Johnson gave an overview of the university’s extension function. In particular she explained that the UGA Cooperative Extension Service gets its funding from a variety of sources, with only 37 percent of its overall budget coming from state funds. Burke “If ag is not strong in South Georgia, nothing is strong,” Johnson said. Grady County Extension Agent Don Clark gave an overview of the county’s agricultural activities. GFB President Zippy Duvall provided Sen. Burke with a description of GFB’s organization. “We’re a bottom-up organization. I won’t talk to you about anything these guys haven’t given me permission to talk about in our policy book, and we go through a democratic process to develop that policy.” Sen. Dean Burke commended GFB Assistant Legislative Director Jeffrey Harvey for his efforts to keep members of the Georgia General Assembly informed about agricultural issues. Burke encouraged the group to maintain contact with him and his office. “It seems like the most vocal people sometimes only represent 10 percent of your population,” he said. “The silent majority many times truly is silent. If you want me to vote your way you’ve got to make your voice be heard.” Burke also visited Monrovia Farms and one of GCFB President Sammy Perkins’ corn fields to see first-hand the irrigation practices employed there. CANADA RELEASES POTENTIAL RETALIATORY TARIFF LIST The Canadian government has indicated it will seek World Trade Organization (WTO) authorization to implement retaliatory tariffs over its dispute with the United States over U.S. Country of Origin Labeling (COOL) requirements. Canada released a list of 38 products that could be targeted with tariffs in retaliation for what it calls unfair trade practices under the COOL program. Canadian International Trade Minister Ed Fast and Agriculture Minister Gerry Ritz issued a statement on June 7 asking the U.S. to abide by the terms of a WTO ruling on COOL. “We are preparing to launch the next phase of the WTO dispute settlement process on the new U.S. rule, which we had hoped to avoid by the United States living up to its trade obligations,” the statement said. Most of the items on the retaliatory tariff list are food or food related. Also included are jewelry items and precious metals used in jewelry, stainless steel tubes and pipes, office furniture and mattresses. Mexico is also expected to seek WTO approval for retaliatory tariffs in response to COOL. In May, the U.S. published a modified final rule on COOL labeling provisions for meat commodities requiring information about each step of the production process. American Farm Bureau Federation analysis concluded the modified rule would not make the U.S. WTO compliant.
Leadership Alert page 3 of 6 GEORGIA PECAN PRODUCERS VOTE TO CONTINUE COMMISSION Georgia pecan producers voted to continue the Georgia Pecan Commission for another three years during a mail referendum held May 1 to May 30. The referendum passed by 93.4 percent with 156 producers voting to continue the commission and 11 against. The commission was established by Georgia pecan producers in 1995 and must be reaffirmed every three years. The commission coordinates promotion, education and research programs for the state’s pecan industry. State law requires that at least 66 2/3 percent of the producers voting must vote in favor of continuing the organization. Ballots were mailed to 586 producers. A total of 176 ballots were returned of which nine were invalid. Producers growing 30 or more acres of pecans are eligible to vote in the statewide referendum. Growers are assessed a half-cent per pound for in-shell nuts to finance the commission’s programs. Growers with fewer than 30 acres are not required to participate. The Georgia Pecan Commission Board of Directors consists of producers John Robison, chairman, of Lyons; Thomas Mason, vice chairman, of Kathleen; J.W. Christiansen, Jr., of Albany; Mark Cook, of Davisboro and Tom Stone of Thomasville and ex-officio members Georgia Commissioner of Agriculture Gary Black; Georgia Farm Bureau President Zippy Duvall, Buddy Leger and Russ Moon. RAINS CHALLENGING TOBACCO CROP The University of Georgia’s lead tobacco researcher said that pest and disease stresses have been light so far in 2013, but recent heavy rains have posed challenges for farmers who have seen tobacco plants wilting in the field due to excessive moisture in the soil. Dr. J. Michael Moore, speaking during the 2013 GeorgiaFlorida Tobacco Tour said that prolonged periods of soggy soil prevent oxygen and nutrients from reaching the upper reaches of the plants, causing the leaves to wilt. “We’ve had very little black shank show up in the crop and there have been low levels of tomato spotted wilt virus,” Moore said. “It has thrown off our predictions.” The tour, which began in Waresboro, Ga., on June 10, made several stops in South Georgia on June 11 and finished up in North Florida on June 12. The tour highlighted this year’s crop and ongoing studies into tobacco plant stressors. At the Irwin County farm of Rob Smith, fields had been recently plowed to aerate soil after recent heavy rains in hopes of restoring oxygen to the plants. Moore reviewed the research into genetic traits that make tobacco resistant to black shank. Among those are a North Carolina State study into tobacco variety NC1071, which has a genetic resistance race 0 of the black shank fungus but is susceptible to race 1. The genetic studies are part of an effort to minimize the use of chemicals. UGA Professor Emeritus Dr. Paul Bertrand discussed studies for treatment of tomato spotted wilt virus on the Tucker farm. Ricky Tucker, who has 435 acres of tobacco, detailed the challenges he has faced from recent heavy rains that resulted in extremely wet soil. Prompt plowing between the rows can restore the roots’ access to oxygen. At the Black Shank Nursery on the UGA Tifton Campus, UGA researchers continue to study chemical use and variety trials to combat black shank disease.
Leadership Alert page 4 of 6 UGA ENTOMOLOGISTS WANT YOUR CICADAS University of Georgia entomologists are hoping to use the public's interest in this year's emergence of Brood II periodical cicadas as a chance to research and better map the range of the cicadas. UGA entomologists are asking Georgians to collect any intact cicada bodies they find on the ground and send them to the museum. The Georgia Museum of Natural History has an international collection of cicadas ranging in size from smaller than a pinkie fingernail to some Southeast Asian species that are the size of the palm of a hand, all in a rainbow of colors. They also have representatives of several of the broods of 13- and 17-year periodical cicadas, including specimens dating back to the 1930s, but they don't have any Brood II cicadas from Georgia. Having specimens from this brood would help document this emergence in Georgia, Members of the public who find cicada bodies should send them to Richard Hoebeke, Georgia Museum of Natural History, Natural History Building, University of Georgia, Athens, Ga. 30602-7882. For more information on the museum, see http://naturalhistory.uga.edu/. FSA COUNTY COMMITTEE NOMINATIONS NOW OPEN The nomination period for local Farm Service Agency (FSA) county committees is now open. To be eligible to serve on an FSA county committee, a person must participate or cooperate in a program administered by FSA, be eligible to vote in a county committee election and reside in the local administrative area in which the person is a candidate. Farmers and ranchers may nominate themselves or others, and organizations representing minorities and women also may nominate candidates. To become a candidate, an eligible individual must sign the nomination form, FSA-669A. The form and other information about FSA county committee elections are available online at http://www.fsa.usda.gov/elections. Nomination forms for the 2013 election must be postmarked or received in the local USDA Service Center by close of business on Aug. 1. Elections will take place this fall. Members serve three-year terms. FSA will mail ballots to eligible voters beginning Nov. 4. The voted ballots are due back to the local county office either via mail or in person by Dec. 2. Newly elected committee members and alternates take office on Jan. 1, 2014. CORN SILAGE AND CONSERVED FORAGE FIELD DAY June 20 UGA Tifton Campus Conference Center Tifton This field day will provide valuable information about corn varieties, summer forage alternatives, agronomic management and alfalfa and Bermudagrass for dairies. Lunch will be provided. Registration begins at 7:30 a.m. and the program starts at 8 a.m. For more information visit http://animal.ifas.ufl.edu/extension/CSFD/CSFD/. NORTH-SOUTH INSTITUTE AGRIPRENEURSHIP WORKSHOP June 20 859 Greater Zachariah Church Rd. 11 a.m. â€“ 2:30 p.m. Glennville This workshop will offer farmers, producers, and other agricultural professionals the unique opportunity to learn about working with the various agencies within the USDA. Included is an overview of opportunities available through the Farm Service Agencyâ€™s Non-insured Crop Assistance Program and the new Microloan Program announced January 2013 and members of the USDA Georgia StrikeForce Initiative to Boost Rural and Economic Growth will be present at this workshop to give a program message. On-site registration is open to the public and free for the first 25 attendees. Other registrants will be asked to contribute $25.00 to cover the publication costs of the workbook/manual to accompany the workshop. For more information or to RSVP in advance, please call 954-434-8220 or send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Leadership Alert page 5 of 6 UGA NATIONAL POLLINATOR WEEK EVENT June 20 UGA Marine Extension Service Station Brunswick The University of Georgia Marine Extension Service(MAREX) and Georgia Sea Grant will celebrate National Pollinator Week with an event from 9 a.m. to noon at the MAREX Brunswick station and native plant demonstration garden at 715 Bay St. The event will include tours of the pollinator habitat garden and native plant gardens at the station. At 11 a.m., there will be a presentation on pollinator protection and pollinator-friendly landscaping. The Glynn County Farm Bureau Beekeepers’ Committee will display a honeybee hive and distribute beekeeping information. For more information, call Keren Giovengo at 912-280-1586. SMALL FARMER WORKSHOP June 25 The Garden Patch, 100 Southland Dr. Barnesville This one-day workshop, presented by the Lamar County Soil and Water Conservation District, includes presentations on production in high tunnels, micro irrigation, Georgia Grown and Farmers Markets and farm bill programs. Program includes dinner and runs from 5:30 p.m. to 8 p.m. Please preregister by calling the Barnesville NRCS office before June 21 at 770-358-3223, ext. 3. GEORGIA GROWN FARMER SHOWCASE June 22 Park Market, Centennial Olympic Park 9 a.m. - noon Atlanta June 29 Savannah State Farmers Market 9 a.m. - noon Savannah July 13 Park Market, Centennial Olympic Park 9 a.m. - noon Atlanta July 27 Park Market, Centennial Olympic Park 9 a.m. - noon Atlanta Aug. 10 Park Market, Centennial Olympic Park 9 a.m. - noon Atlanta Aug. 24 Park Market, Centennial Olympic Park 9 a.m. - noon Atlanta Sept. 14 Park Market, Centennial Olympic Park 9 a.m. - noon Atlanta Sept. 28 Park Market, Centennial Olympic Park 9 a.m. - noon Atlanta This family-friendly series features dozens of vendors from around the state, offering locally grown fresh Georgia produce and plant sales, meet and greets with local farmers and much more. For more information, visit http://www.georgiagrown.com or call 404-656-3689. WATERMELON FIELD DAY June 24 Southeast Ag Research/Sunsweet Farm Chula This field day will present Monsanto’s latest in watermelon genetics, including a new pollinator for seedless production. To RSVP for the event, please send an email to email@example.com by June 21. More event details will be sent to those who RSVP. For questions, please contact Ivanna De La Torre at 305-522-5498. ORGANIC GRAIN AND OILSEED PRODUCTION WORKSHOP June 27 NESPAL Building 8:30 a.m. – 4 p.m. Tifton This free workshop, which includes classroom presentations and a field tour, will give participants an understanding of how to begin producing organic grains and oilseeds. National experts will discuss organic corn, soybean, wheat and oilseed production specific to Georgia's climate. Lunch will be provided for all attendees. This workshop is sponsored by Southern SARE, Georgia Center for Innovation - Agribusiness, Georgia Organics, Cooperative Extension and USDA ARS. Space is limited and registration is required! Contact Kate Munden-Dixon to reserve your space at 706-542-8084 or firstname.lastname@example.org. The NESPAL Building is located at 2360 Rainwater Road in Tifton.
Leadership Alert page 6 of 6 WEBINAR ON SELLING PRODUCE TO THE USDA June 27 2 p.m. – 3 p.m. online This free interactive webinar, “How to Sell Fruits and Vegetables to the USDA.” Will feature Sara Hernandez of the Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) discussing the USDA’s commodity procurement program, the types of products the USDA buys, the requirements for selling to the USDA and the process of soliciting USDA business. The webinar will also provide information about contracting opportunities for small, socially disadvantaged, women- and veteran-owned businesses. This informative webinar is designed for fruit and vegetable growers, processors and distributors of all size. Registration is required and space is limited. Visit http://bit.ly/145Arm2 to register. GEORGIA BLUEBERRY COMMISSION HOLDING RECIPE CONTEST The Georgia Blueberry Commission is holding its first “Sweet Georgia Blues Recipe Contest” throughout the month of June in celebration of Georgia Blueberry Month. Georgia Blueberry fans are invited to create and photograph an original recipe using Georgia Blueberries. Submissions will be posted on the Georgia Blueberry Commission’s website and Facebook page for voting. Recipe submission and voting began June 1 and continues through June 30. Winners will be announced on July 8th.The recipe creator with the most votes will win $500. Contestants who receive the second and third most votes will receive a Sweet Georgia Blues Basket (includes blueberry jams, autographed cookbook, etc) and an autographed copy of Hugh Acheson’s A New Turn in the South Cookbook, respectively. For more information and contest rules, log onto http://www.GeorgiaBlueberries.org SUNBELT EXPO FIELD DAY July 11 Sunbelt Agricultural Expo, Spence Field Moultrie This free preview of 36th Annual Sunbelt Expo is an opportunity for farmers to see the latest seed varieties, crop protection, irrigation technology and precision ag technology in an applied research setting. Company representatives and university researchers will make presentations on their equipment and research. Registration begins at 7:15 a.m. followed by a free biscuit breakfast with Georgia Department of Agriculture and Georgia Farm Bureau representatives. Trams will depart for the fields promptly at 8 a.m. Tours will last until noon. No lunch will be served. All breakfast attendees will receive a free Expo cap and may register for door prizes including: a Brown 472 six foot rotary cutter, farm tires and a shotgun. For more information, call 229-985-1968 or visit http://www.sunbeltexpo.com. NOMINATIONS OPEN FOR FSA COUNTY COMMITTEES The nomination period for local Farm Service Agency (FSA) county committees is now open and runs through Aug. 1. To be eligible to serve on an FSA county committee, a person must participate or cooperate in a program administered by FSA, be eligible to vote in a county committee election and reside in the local administrative area in which the person is a candidate. Farmers and ranchers may nominate themselves or others, and organizations representing minorities and women also may nominate candidates. To become a candidate, an eligible individual must sign the nomination form, FSA-669A. The form and other information about FSA county committee elections are available online at http://www.fsa.usda.gov/elections.