June 8, 2011
Vol. 29 No. 23
GFB HOLDS PRAYER SERVICE TO ASK FOR WEATHER FAVORABLE TO AG
Adverse weather conditions from storms this spring and drought conditions have played havoc with Georgia agriculture, and on June 2 Georgia Farm Bureau hosted a prayer service to ask for favorable agricultural conditions. Many areas of the state have gone as long as two months without significant rainfall, affecting planting decisions and prompting worries of crop losses. The drought conditions were the biggest focus of the prayer service, which drew approximately 100 people to the auditorium at the GFB home office. Berrien County Farm Bureau held a separate observance at its office in Nashville, Ga. “It’s very very severe for this particular point in the growing season,” said Georgia Agriculture Commissioner Gary Black, who encouraged the staging of the prayer service. “We’re having many, many producers that are having to water a crop in just to get a stand. Certainly there are expense issues involved there. It’s just not viable long-term. You use irrigation to nurture a crop. You do not use irrigation to produce a crop. The dry land has come under significant stress.” In addition to the drought, forest fires and late-April tornadoes destroyed nearly 400 square miles of timberland and caused damage to chicken houses, hay barns, irrigation pivots, fencing and other ag assets across north Georgia. According to Georgia Farm Service Agency statistics, chicken producers in Bartow, Floyd, Lamar and Pickens counties lost 638,000 chickens, and nearly 1,500 farm dwellings, service buildings and farm structures across the state were either damaged or destroyed. The service featured brief speeches from Black and GFB President Zippy Duvall, music from Johnny Prettyman of Mabel White Baptist Church in Macon and a message from Rev. David Sharpton. Sharpton, the minister of education & evangelism at Maysville Baptist Church, delivered the main message. “Ask God to rain down on us spiritually,” Sharpton said, “but also to heal us physically by providing rain.” Prettyman led the gathering in singing the hymns “Amazing Grace” and “Showers of Blessings”. Black and Duvall each urged those gathered to pray without ceasing, stressing the widespread need for rain “Before it will mean anything to God, it has to mean something to us,” Duvall said. “This means a lot to us.” Added Black, “Don’t just start when things get tough.”
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DUVALL DISCUSSES AG ISSUES WITH DEAL, CAGLE GFB President Zippy Duvall traveled to the state capitol on May 31 and met separately with Gov. Nathan Deal and Lt. Gov. Casey Cagle to discuss state tax reform, farm labor, conservation use value assessments (CUVA), and regional water council (RWC) appointments. Duvall asked both officials about the likelihood of tax reform being brought up during the General Assembly’s special reapportionment session later this summer. Recent media reports have suggested the governor is considering tax reform during the session. In their conversations with Duvall, however, neither Deal nor Cagle expressed much enthusiasm at the prospect. The recent reports of farm labor shortages were also discussed. Duvall voiced concern for farmers and appreciation to the governor for working with Agriculture Commissioner Gary Black to develop data to determine the extent of the farm labor shortage. The Atlanta television media has recently broadcast news reports disparaging the CUVA program in Georgia. Duvall outlined GFB’s strong support for CUVA and stated the organization would oppose any significant changes to the CUVA program. Deal and Cagle both expressed strong support for CUVA and dismissed criticism of the CUVA in the news reports as media hype. Members of the 10 regional water councils will be up for reappointment in 2012. Duvall expressed the need for continuity on the councils and urged reappointment of the farmers currently serving in those positions. Deal and Cagle both stated their support for councils with strong farm representation. “We are going to have fair representation of farmers,” said Cagle. “That has been my commitment, and that hasn’t changed.” USDA REPLACES FOOD PYRAMID WITH FOOD PLATE The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) rolled out its new nutrition icon on June 2, replacing the long-standing Food Pyramid with MyPlate. The new design is a plate-shaped symbol divided into wedges for the basic food groups of fruits, grains, protein and vegetables. The plate portion of the design is accompanied by a smaller circle representing the dairy group. According to a USDA press release, MyPlate is a new generation icon with the intent to prompt consumers to think about building a healthy plate at meal times. “With so many food options available to consumers, it is often difficult to determine the best foods to put on our plates when building a healthy meal,” said Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack. “MyPlate is an uncomplicated symbol to help remind people to think about their food choices in order to lead healthier lifestyles. This effort is about more than just giving information. It is a matter of making people understand there are options and practical ways to apply them to their lives.” The USDA has been issuing nutrition guidelines since at least 1916 and through the decades it has gone through several revisions. The Food Pyramid first appeared in 1992 and was revised in 2005. For more information on the USDA’s nutrition guidelines and to view the Food Plate, visit http://www.choosemyplate.gov.
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2012 AG APPROPRIATIONS BILL CUTS $2.7 BILLION The U.S. House Appropriations Committee passed the 2012 Agriculture Appropriations bill on May 31, outlining funding for programs under the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) and related agencies for fiscal year 2012. The bill includes $125.5 billion in spending. It reduces discretionary spending by $2.7 billion, or 13.4 percent, from FY2011 levels. The discretionary spending outlined in the bill is $5 billion less than proposed by President Obama. The bill includes a number of amendments important to agriculture, including an item that would prevent the USDA from implementing the Grain Inspection, Packers and Stockyards Administration rule. Farm Bureau supports allowing the USDA to move forward with reviewing the 60,000 public comments and economic analysis of the proposed GIPSA rule. One amendment submitted by Rep. Rosa DeLauro (D-Conn.) prohibits ag appropriations from being used to make the $147 million annual payments under the U.S. settlement with Brazil in a long-running cotton dispute between the two countries, likely placing the U.S. in violation of that agreement. The amendment diverts that money to the Women, Infants and Children (WIC) program, which had been cut by $832 million by the Ag Appropriations Subcommittee. The appropriations bill includes a measure proposed by Rep. Jeff Flake (R-Ariz.) which would prohibit some direct farm bill payments to applicants whose adjusted gross incomes exceed $250,000. Farm Bureau opposes the measure and maintains that the House Ag Committee has jurisdiction over direct payments and should handle the issue. The bill also includes a measure to prohibit funding for USDA inspections at U.S. horse slaughter facilities, effectively preventing slaughter at these facilities. Farm Bureau opposed the amendment and supports federal funding for horse processing inspections similar to the process for other species. CIVIL RIGHTS GROUPS FILE SUIT OVER GEORGIA IMMIGRATION LAW Calling the new Georgia immigration law “un-American,” the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), the National Immigrant Law Center (NILC) and a coalition of other civil rights groups filed a class action lawsuit on June 2 challenging House Bill 87, which was signed into law May 13 by Gov. Nathan Deal and goes into effect July 1. “Georgia’s new law is fundamentally un-American: We are not a ‘show me your papers’ country nor one that believes in making certain people ‘untouchables’ that others should be afraid to assist, house or transport,” said Omar Jadwat, staff attorney with the ACLU Immigrants’ Rights Project. “The courts have blocked Arizona’s and Utah’s laws from going into effect. Georgia should be prepared for the same outcome.” HB 87 gives police authority to check immigration status in certain situations and places immigration status verification requirements on employers. Farm Bureau maintains that the immigration issue should be addressed at the federal level and opposed a provision in HB 87 making employers’ use of E-Verify mandatory. The ACLU has also threatened to sue the state of Alabama if Gov. Robert Bentley signs an immigration law passed by the Alabama legislature.
Leadership Alert page 4 of 6 PARTICIPATE IN GDA LABOR SURVEY FOR GOVERNOR BY TODAY DEPARTMENT OF LABOR ASSISTS IN LOCATING FARM WORKERS GA FRUIT & VEGETABLE GROWERS ASSOC. WILL HELP WITH THIS Fruit & vegetable growers who hire employees are urged to go online and participate in the Georgia Commissioner of Agriculture’s farm labors survey by TODAY at https://www.surveymonkey.com/s/GeorgiaLabor. The Commissioner of Agriculture must submit a report of the survey to Gov. Deal by June 10. The Georgia Department of Labor (DOL) is offering assistance to growers with job announcements and referral assistance. Growers can post job orders by contacting their nearest DOL career center. The career centers are listed at http://www.dol.state.ga.us/find_career_centers.htm. Ask for an employer-marketing representative for help with posting job orders. OR contact the Georgia Fruit & Vegetable Growers Association at 1-877-994-3842 or visit http://gfvga.org/2011/05/we-need-your-help to have the GFVGA assist you in placing a work order for laborers. TRACTOR SUPPLY FFA FUNDRAISER June 10-19 Shoppers at local Tractor Supply Company stores will have the opportunity to support their nearby FFA chapters by purchasing paper FFA emblems by adding increments of 25 cents to their purchase at checkout. Customers who make a donation up to $5 will receive a blue emblem, and customers who give more than $5.00 will receive a gold emblem. All funds raised through “Change for the Future” will benefit FFA members. USDA PEANUT STANDARDS BOARD NOMINATION DEADLINE JUNE 11 The USDA is seeking nominations for six individuals to serve on the Peanut Standards Board to replace three producer and two industry representatives who currently serve on the board and have terms of office that end June 30, 2011 as well as one individual to fill a vacant industry position. Each member will serve a three-year term. Eligible entities are invited to submit nominations, which must be accompanied by a completed background information form, which is available on USDA’s website at http://www.ams.usda.gov/PeanutStandardsBoard, or by contacting Dawana J. Clark at the D.C. Marketing Field Office, Mail Unit 155, 4700 River Road, Riverdale MD 20737, by phone at 301-7345243 or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org. Nominations must be received on or before June 11. Notice of the request for nominations was published in the June 1 Federal Register. GEORGIA PEACH FESTIVAL Through June 11 Various locations Byron and Fort Valley This festival offers concerts, theatre shows, the 3rd Annual Paul Reehling Memorial Poker Run, Peach County Historical Society’s Famous Chicken Salad Luncheon free sampling of the World's Largest Peach Cobbler and much more! For more information, visit http://www.gapeachfestival.com. GFB AG IN THE CLASSROOM WORKSHOP FOR TEACHERS REGISTRATION DEADLINE IS JUNE 10. June 13-15 Abraham Baldwin Agricultural College Tifton This three-day workshop will show teachers how to use agriculture as a tool to teach social studies, science, math and language arts. This professional learning unit (PLU) course is targeted to teachers in grades K-8, is matched to state standards, is interdisciplinary and places particular focus on Georgia. Teachers will learn how to teach their students where their food comes from and about natural resources using hands-on lessons and activities. The class includes a field trip to learn about Georgia agriculture and a variety of classroom resources for teachers to use. Georgia Agriculture in the Classroom Coordinator Donna Rocker is the lead instructor for the class. The course sessions begin at 8:30 a.m. and end at 4:30 p.m. each day. Registration cost is $35 and includes lunch each day and a field trip to area farms/agribusinesses. Participants are responsible for making their own hotel accommodations. For more information, visit http://www.gfb.org/programs/aic/PLUCourses.htm. To register, contact Rocker via email at email@example.com or by phone at 478-474-0679 (ext. 5365).
Leadership Alert page 5 of 6 GEORGIA-FLORIDA TOBACCO TOUR June 13-15 The tour will begin on June 13 with a 7 p.m. supper at Mixonâ€™s Pond House in Waresboro, Ga. On June 14, the tour will leave from the Quality Inn & Suites parking lot in Waycross, Ga., at 7:30 a.m. to visit Georgia tobacco farms to view on-farm research of tobacco varieties, insect control and tomato spotted wilt virus. The tour will end in Tifton on June 14 with tour headquarters at the Tifton Hampton Inn. On June 15, the tour will leave the Tifton Hampton Inn at 7:30 a.m. and visit the Bowen Farm of the Coastal Plain Experiment Station. Lunch will be at the UGA Tifton Campus Conference Center. After lunch, the tour will visit additional on-farm demonstrations, Florida producers and a released varieties demonstration in Columbia County, Fla. The tour will end near Lake City, Fla., June 15. To register for the tour visit http://www.caes.uga.edu/commodities/fieldcrops/tobacco/tours/index.html Additional details of the schedule and driving directions will be added to the website the week before the tour. For more information please contact Dr. J. Michael Moore at 229-392-6424 or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org. UGA COTTON SCOUT SCHOOLS June 13 UGA Tifton Campus Conference Center Tifton June 21 Southeast Research & Education Center Midville These programs offer basic information on cotton insects and scouting procedures and will serve as a review for experienced scouts and producers and as an introduction to cotton insect monitoring for new scouts. Both schools run from 9 a.m. â€“ 12:30 p.m. For more information about the Tifton school call Debbie Rutland at 229-386-3424. Contact Peyton Sapp at 706-554-2119 for more information about the school in Midville. UGA AGRIBUSINESS CONFERENCE Jun. 14 Chicopee Building UGA Campus Athens This workshop provides networking opportunities among successful business owners, private-sector entities and financial institutions, and will include presentations from chefs, restaurateurs and farmers with successful agritourism businesses. UGA experts, as well as representatives from other state and local institutions, will talk about marketing, business plans, financial forecasting, trends, business models, loans, grants and more. Participants will leave with game plans, ideas, business leads, contracts and resources to increase profitability. Registration begins at 8:30 a.m. Sessions start at 9 a.m. and end at 4:30 p.m. Registration is $65 per person and includes a buffet lunch, breaks, informational materials, parking and contact lists of all participants and exhibitors. Register online at www.georgiamicrobiz.com or call Julia Menefield at 706-208-0048. CHEROKEE COUNTY FARM BUREAU SAFETY DAY CAMP June 15 Lazy D Farm 9 a.m. - 4 p.m. Ball Ground This free camp, which is open to anyone regardless of county of residence, includes lunch, t-shirt & gift bag. Topics include ATV safety, animal safety, electricity safety, tractor safety, nutrition, fire safety, gun safety, water safety, bike safety and severe weather. To register call Cherokee County Farm Bureau at 770-479-1481 Ext. 0 or the Cherokee County Extension Office at 770-479-0418. CORN SILAGE & FORAGE FIELD DAY June 16 UGA Tifton Campus Tifton Registration for this workshop, hosted by the University of Georgia and University of Florida, begins at 7:30 a.m. and the program starts at 8 a.m. Visit http://bit.ly/lXnW2o or contact Dr. John K. Bernard at 229-391-6856 or email@example.com for information.
Leadership Alert page 6 of 6 DEADLINE TO APPLY FOR USDA RENEWABLE ENERGY LOANS JUNE 15 $70 million in loan guarantees and grants to install renewable energy systems is available nationwide. through the USDA Rural Development’s Renewable Energy for America program. Funds may be used to purchase and install renewable energy systems, to make energy efficiency improvements, and to complete feasibility studies. The maximum grant for renewable energy systems is 25 percent of eligible project costs, not to exceed $500,000. Energy efficiency improvement projects are eligible for up to 25 percent of eligible project costs, not to exceed $250,000. The maximum loan guarantee is 75 percent of eligible project costs, not to exceed $25 million. Combination loan guarantees and grants are also available. Feasibility studies now also qualify for grants. New for 2011 is the addition of blender pumps as an eligible purpose. These pumps can deliver a variety of ethanol blended gasoline ranging from 11% to 85%. Convenience stores and other fuel dispensers can apply for funding this year to help in the installation of the pumps and tanks at their place of business. Complete program details are available at http://www.rurdev.usda.gov/Energy.html. Applications received after June 15 will be considered in 2012. Applications can be sent to Craig Scroggs, USDA Rural Development, 111 E. Spring St. Monroe, GA 30655 or Al Burns, USDA Rural Development, 2406 N. Tift Ave., Suite 103, Tifton, GA 31794. Program coordinators can be reached for more information as follows: Craig Scroggs at 404-229-5720 or firstname.lastname@example.org; Al Burns at 229-220-5067 or email@example.com. GEORGIA FORESTRY ASSOCIATION REGIONAL FORESTRY MEETING June 16 Cloverleaf Restaurant 5:30 p.m.– 8:30 p.m. Dublin The keynote speaker for this event will be Paul D. Ferré, fiber procurement manager at Georgia Biomass, LLC, who will speak on the Georgia Biomass Facility in Waycross. In order to attend this meeting you must pre-register by June 13. To pre-register, call Michele Lawson at 478-992-8110 or send an email listing the attendee’s names to firstname.lastname@example.org. A payment of $10 per person will be taken at the door the night of the meeting. We encourage you to bring a guest to share this great opportunity. PESTICIDE USE, SAFETY & HANDLING TRAINING CLASS June 21 Houston Co. Cooperative. Ext. Office Perry Earn five hours of commercial pesticide credit in multiple categories (Categories 21,22,23,24,25,26,27, 31,32,35,36,37,38,39, or 41). Class runs from 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. Class costs $40 and includes materials. Lunch is on your own. To register contact Karen Atkins at 478-987-2028 or via email at email@example.com or find a registeration form online at http://www.ugaextension.com/houston (under News & Events). To receive information about future recertification classes, please email Karen Atkins at firstname.lastname@example.org. GA. PORK PRODUCERS CONGRESS & PORK ACT DELEGATE ELECTION June 22 Georgia Farm Bureau Home Office Macon Georgia pork producers will hold their annual meeting at 8:30 a.m. and at 2 p.m. Georgia pork producers will elect delegates to represent Georgia at the 2012 National Pork Producers Delegate Body. For information, contact the Georgia Pork Producers Association at 229-336-7760. GEORGIA DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE EXPORT SEMINAR June 27 Doubletree Buckhead Hotel Atlanta This free event is open to all Georgia agricultural companies interested in exporting to foreign markets. The seminar will provide information, contacts and resources to help Georgia companies compete globally. Topics will include a discussion of the USDA’s Export Credit Guarantee Program, government resources to help businesses export their products, financing and banking topics and a presentation on the Market Access Program by the Southern U.S. Trade Association. REGISTRATION DEADLINE IS JUNE 15. For more information contact Shehzin Jafar at email@example.com or 404-6563740.