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March 28, 2012

Vol. 30 No. 13

GFB HOLDS EDUCATIONAL LEADERSHIP CONFERENCE Georgia Farm Bureau members got a look at what various activist groups are saying about agriculture and received training on how to counter those views during the 2012 GFB Educational Leadership Conference on March 24 at the Macon Marriott. During the conference, GFB presented the Ronald McDonald House of Central Georgia with a check for $10,000, the proceeds collected by county Farm Bureaus around the state during the annual Food Check-Out Week activities. “We’ve been so excited and so appreciative of the support that we’ve gotten through the years through Georgia Farm Bureau,” said Ronald McDonald House Charities of Central Georgia Executive Director Bonnie Hopkins, who noted that in the 10 years the Macon Ronald McDonald House has been open, approximately 4,500 families have stayed there. “We thank you for what you do in the entire state for Ronald McDonald Houses,” Hopkins said. Keynote speaker Betty Wolanyk, chief operating officer of Ag Literacy Works, gave a presentation entitled “Are You Smarter than an Activist?” Wolanyk showed a variety of tactics used by activist groups that are attacking modern agriculture. These groups, which have made pushes into schools, are well-funded and their campaigns are effective, Wolanyk said, providing a list of 21 groups that have more than $820 million at their disposal. She also noted that most of them are intertwined. “Farm Bureaus need to start telling their story and tell people that what these various activist groups and book authors are saying isn’t true,” Wolanyk said. “Farmers work diligently to provide excellent care for their animals and a safe and nutritious food supply.” Participants received training from American Farm Bureau Federation Director of Leadership Development John Torres on how to effectively communicate. Torres showed GFB members how simple and unexpected themes can make their stories memorable. GFB Women’s Committee members Nichelle Stewart of Cherokee County, Angela Todd (pictured above) of Evans County and Elaine Mercer of Laurens County shared how they’ve served as volunteers in school classrooms to show school children how food is produced on the farm. In honor of the 2012-2013 GFB featured commodity, soybeans, Todd walked participants through the process of getting soybean seeds to germinate, putting two seeds in a plastic pouch with a puff of moist cotton to start the process. Karrie Perrin, a third-grade teacher at Toccoa Elementary School in Stephens County, shared a number of activities that GFB volunteers could use to spread agriculture’s message in classrooms.

Leadership Alert page 2 of 8 TAX REFORM BILL PASSES GEORGIA HOUSE AND SENATE A bill that maintains current agricultural sales tax exemptions and recommends broadening the exemptions to include energy costs and other farm inputs passed both houses of the Georgia General Assembly. The bill, House Bill 386 Substitute, was sponsored by Rep. Mickey Channell (R-Greensboro) and strongly supported by Georgia Farm Bureau. It passed the House by a 155-9 vote and the Senate by a 54-0 vote. Farmers have previously been exempted from paying sales taxes on feed, seed, fertilizer, chemicals and equipment, and those exemptions were kept in place. The bill expanded the exemptions to include electricity and fuels used in agricultural production as well as a variety of other inputs. “We’re just ecstatic that the leadership of our state understands what agriculture means to Georgia and making sure that Georgia agriculture fits in that mold with all the other manufacturing businesses across the state,” said Georgia Farm Bureau President Zippy Duvall. “We’re just very appreciative of other people that have worked so hard to help us accomplish this goal. The average farmer who is out in the field today plowing, if he burns 100 gallons of diesel fuel, the tax savings on that 100 gallons will save him $28. He paid $25 for a year-long membership in our organization and in one day it will save him the amount he paid for his membership.” HB 386 was based on recommendations from the Special Council on Tax Reform and Fairness for Georgians, which was created under HB 1405 in 2010. The council, which was an 11member body consisting of economists and business leaders from around the state, included McDuffie County Farm Bureau Vice President Skeetter McCorkle. The council’s recommendations were made to the Special Joint Committee on Georgia Revenue Structure, a 12-member committee comprised of six members from each chamber of the state legislature. The Special Joint committee was also established by HB 1405 and was co-chaired by Channell and Sen. Bill Heath (R-Bremen). HOUSE BUDGET COMMITTEE PROPOSAL COULD CUT FARM PROGRAMS U.S. House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan (R-Wisc.) submitted his FY 2013 budget resolution to six House committees on March 20, including the House Agriculture Committee, which he instructed to trim $33.2 billion from farm programs over the next 10 years. Of that amount, $8.2 billion in spending is to be cut the first year. Last fall in their submission to the Joint Committee on Deficit Reduction, the House and Senate Ag Committees proposed $19 billion in cuts to commodity and conservation programs over 10 years and $23 billion total in farm bill spending. Ryan’s proposal included cuts to government support of crop insurance and reducing direct payments, but left it up to the agriculture committees to determine how the reductions get made. House Ag Committee Chairman Frank Lucas (R-Okla.) characterized the dollar figures in Budget Committee proposal as suggestions, while Ag Committee Ranking Member Collin Peterson (D-Minn.) said the proposal “all but guarantees there will be no farm bill this year.”

Leadership Alert page 3 of 8 GFB HOSTS CAMPAIGN MANAGEMENT SEMINAR Georgia Farm Bureau hosted a campaign management seminar on March 26 and 27, giving participants hands-on training on how to conduct their own election campaign. The event, facilitated by American Farm Bureau Federation Director of Grassroots/Political Advocacy Cody Lyon, gave participants a start-to-finish view of the campaign process, including factors to consider when deciding to run for office, evaluating the voters, interacting with the media, selecting a campaign platform, budgeting, organization and strategy. “It’s important that candidates learn how to run a proper campaign so they know what actions are going to help them get elected, how they need to best communicate with the voters, what they need to say, how to set up their organization,” Lyon said. “There’s a myriad of actions that are required of any candidate. The Farm Bureau campaign school helps candidates know what to do and how to do it.” The participants included current local elected officials and those either currently running for office or considering doing so from various locations around the state. The seminar, which Lyon and other AFBF staffers have conducted in more than 30 states in the past year, is designed to help participants at all campaign levels identify factors to consider when making decisions in a campaign, walking them through a mock campaign. Lyon said 78 percent of the candidates who have taken the seminar have won their elections. “It’s hard to do and these candidates need to have all the tools to win their race,” Lyon said. “This campaign school helps candidates put their resources in the right place. It helps candidates talk to voters in the right way, and it helps them understand and appreciate what is of most concern to the voters, so they base their campaign on solving the issues that are most important to the people in the district.” DEAL MAKES APPOINTMENTS TO AGRICULTURE-RELATED BOARDS Gov. Nathan Deal has reappointed Garland Thompson to the Georgia Soil and Water Conservation Commission and appointed William Bagwell Jr. and J. Mark Mobley Jr. to the Board of Natural Resources. Thompson, of Coffee County, is chairman of the commission and has served on the Georgia Agribusiness Council, the University of Georgia Agriculture Alumni Board and the Sunbelt Agricultural Exposition Board. Bagwell, of Hall County, has a family timber operation and manages property for Northeast Georgia Real Estate. He is a managing member of Homestead Investments, and worked at the Greater Hall Chamber of Commerce as vice president for economic development, vice president for existing industry and vice president for governmental affairs, and is a member of the Gainesville and Hall County Economic Development Council. Mobley, of Colquitt County, is the owner and president of Mobley Gin Company in Doerun. He serves on the board of directors of the Georgia Development Authority, the board of trustees for Abraham Baldwin Agricultural College and the Colquitt County Hospital Authority. Deal also appointed Frank Keith Bonnell as local soil and water conservation district supervisor in Catoosa County and James Roy Lovell to the same position in Rabun County.

Leadership Alert page 4 of 8 USDA WARNS OF FRAUDULENT LETTERS AND CALLS USDA officials have been notified that additional fraudulent letters and at least one fraudulent phone call have been received by individuals in a number of states. The letters and call purportedly come from a USDA procurement officer and seek personal information. These letters are false and in no case should a recipient respond with personal and financial information. USDA is investigating this matter through the Office of the Inspector General. If you suspect you have received such a letter or have been called by someone representing themselves as being from USDA seeking personal information, please contact USDA at: or call 202-720-9448. GA. PEANUT COMMISSION HOLDING REAFFIRMATION REFERENDUM The Georgia Peanut Commission is holding its reaffirmation referendum through April 15. State law mandates that a referendum be held every three years. Georgia peanut producers invest $2 per ton to fund the commission and its research, education, promotion and communication programs. Peanut producers who do not receive a ballot may obtain one by calling the commission at 229-386-3470 or writing to the commission at P.O. Box 967, Tifton, GA, 31793. Individuals who receive ballots but no longer farmer are asked to write “no longer producing” on the certification envelope and return it to the commission. OLD SOUTH FARM CAMP March - May Old South Farm Museum & Ag Learning Center Woodland Each of this series of three-day camps begins at 7 p.m. on the first day with supper and orientation and ends by 11 a.m. on the third day. It includes six or more classes on a variety of topics ranging from milking a cow to lye soap making and more. Fee is $200 per person, including meals, housing, transportation and class materials. Pre-registration is required. For registration information and specific camp dates call Paul Bulloch 706-975-9136 or visit NRCS ACCEPTING CIG APPLICATIONS THROUGH APRIL 12 The USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Services (NRCS) is accepting applications for conservation Innovation Grants (CIG) to stimulate the development and adoption of innovative conservation approaches and technologies. The deadline to submit an application is April 12. For FY 2012, a total of $300,000 is available for Georgia CIG projects, with a limit of $75,000 per project. Funding categories include energy, nutrient management and specialty crops. Applications may be submitted electronically at or mailed to Dale Bogardus, State CIG Technical Contact, NRCS, 355 East Hancock Ave., Mail Stop 200, Athens, GA 30601. For more information, visit or contact Bogardus by email at NRCS OFFERING INCENTIVES IN PIGWEED CONTROL PROGRAM The USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) in Georgia will provide an additional $1.1 million in financial incentives for an initiative in the currently participating counties of Bibb, Crawford, Dooly, Houston, Macon, Peach, Pulaski, Taylor and Wilcox, to control glyphosate-resistant palmer amaranth, more commonly known as pigweed. This project area has received approval for expansion to include the counties of Appling, Atkinson, Ben Hill, Berrien, Calhoun, Coffee, Colquitt, Cook, Crisp, Irwin, Lanier, Lee, Lowndes, Mitchell, Schley, Sumter, Tift, Telfair, Turner, and Worth. Applications must be received by April 18 to be considered for funding.

Leadership Alert page 5 of 8 29th ANNUAL GEORGIA EGG COMMISSION RECIPE CONTEST May 16 Georgia National Fairgrounds & Agricenter Perry The theme for this year’s contest is “Your Supreme Pizza with Eggs.” Recipes must be original, include a minimum of four whole eggs (which can be incorporated in the crust or toppings), serve at least four people and be prepared in 60 minutes or less. Entries must be postmarked or received by email or fax no later than April 1. Each recipe will be prejudged, and the top 10 will prepare them in a competitive cook-off on May 16. Judges will be chefs from the Mellow Mushroom, and the winning recipe will be featured on the Mellow Mushroom menu in select restaurants. Prizes are $2,000 for first place, $850 for second and $650 for third. To enter, send your recipe to Pizza Contest, Georgia Egg Commission, P.O. Box 2929, Suwanee, GA 30024. Emailed submissions should be sent to; faxed submissions should be sent to 770-932-4625. For complete contest rules, visit GEORGIA CATTLEMEN’S ASSOCIATION FORAGE CONFERENCE April 4-5 Georgia National Fairgrounds & Agricenter Perry This first-time event, to be held in conjunction with the Georgia Cattlemen’s Association Annual Meeting, will provide participants information on a variety of forage-related topics, from identifying & preventing stand decline in Bermudagrass to insect management optionos. Registration on or before March 23 is $40 for the Wednesday program and lunch, $25 for the Thursday lunch and afternoon program and $20 for the Thursday program only. After March 23, registration is $50 for the Wednesday program and lunch, $30 for the Thursday lunch and program and $25 for the Thursday program only. For more information or to register, Visit GEORGIA CATTLEMEN’S ASSOCIATION 51ST ANNUAL CONVENTION April 4-7 Georgia National Fairgrounds & Agricenter Perry This jam-packed four-day event covers all things beef, including a forage conference conducted by UGA’s Dr. Dennis Hancock; a herbicide calibration clinic offering CEU credit hours; Pfizer Cattlemen’s College seminars on the topics of political/regulatory issues, risk management, nutrition and road safety; a livestock marketing seminar conducted by UGA’s Dr. Curt Lacy; the annual awards banquet; a “Beef Rocks” seminar hosted by the Georgia Cattlewomen’s Association; the GCA general membership meeting; angus, hereford, commercial heifer and club calf sales; the annual Cattlemen’s Ball; coffee and donuts with new Georgia State Veterinarian Dr. Robert Cobb and a new products and junior awards luncheon. For more information or to register, visit CONSERVATION RESERVE PROGRAM GENERAL SIGN-UP The USDA will conduct general sign-up for the Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) through April 6. CRP is a voluntary program available to agricultural producers to help them use environmentally sensitive land for conservation benefits. Producers enrolled in CRP plant longterm, resource conserving covers to improve the quality of water, control soil erosion and develop wildlife habitat. USDA provides participants with rental payments and cost-share assistance. Contract duration is between 10 and 15 years. Producers with expiring contracts and producers with environmentally sensitive land are encourased to evaluate their options under CRP. For more information on CRP or other FSA programs, visit your nearest FSA service center or

Leadership Alert page 6 of 8 VEGETABLE GARDEN 102 CLASS April 12 Houston County Extension Office 6:30 p.m.-8:30 p.m. Perry The University of Georgia is offering this class, which will lead participants down the path to controlling problems in their vegetable gardens, covering topics ranging from plant disease to pest control and more. The class costs $10 per person. The registration form may be downloaded at The deadline to preregister is April 10. 2012 OTTAWA FARMS STRAWBERRY FESTIVAL April 14-15 Ottawa Farms Bloomingdale This annual event is filled with family fun, including cloggers, hayrides, cow train rids, a wild west show, the Mobile Dairy Classroom, Corn Cannon, pig races at the Ottawa Speedway and much more. The strawberry field will be open for visitors to pick their own strawberries and a variety of farm products at the Ottawa Farms General Store. Hours are 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. on April 14 and 1 p.m. to 6 p.m. on April 15. Admission is free for children under age 6 and $5 for everyone age 6 and up. For more information call 912-748-3035. MOUNTAIN BEEF CATTLE FIELD DAY April 18 Georgia Mountain Research and Education Center Blairsville Georgia cattle farmers will gain useful research-based information at this free event, which is sponsored by AgGeorgia Farm Credit, Pasture Management Systems and Resaca Sun Feeds. The field day runs from 8:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. and includes lunch and refreshments, Topics include pasture ecology, soil and fertilizer management, beef cattle efficiency, weed control in pastures and hay field and fly control. For more information, call 706-745-2655. USDA SUSTAINABLE AG & CONSERVATION WORKSHOPS April 21 Dillwood Farms Loganville May 17 Camp Westminster Conyers June 14 Love is Love Farm and Oakleaf Mennonite Farm Atlanta These three workshops, offered by the Upper Ocmulgee River Resource Conservation and Development Council, will give participants the opportunity to observe organically grown crops in various stages of development along with a variety of production practices. Local chefs will conduct cooking demonstrations utilizing Georgia-grown produce. Information about how to become eligible for USDA programs will be shared, and the even at Camp Westminster will include a special pasture management and equine field day. Regstration is free but must be done in advance. To register, visit For more information, call the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service at 770-963-9288 or contact Willie Torrey at 678-376-9518 or visit INAUGURAL GOLDEN ONION COOKING COMPETITION April 22 Vidalia Community Center 12:30 p.m. Vidalia This competition, presented by the Vidalia Onion Committee, will serve as the official kick-off of the 35th Annual Vidalia Onion Festival. This professional competition will feature chefs from across Georgia preparing dishes featuring Vidalia onions. Prizes are $500 for first place, $250 for second and $100 for third. The event is open to the public. Tickets are $5 in advance and $10 at the door. For more information, visit

Leadership Alert page 7 of 8 HEIFER EVALUATION &REPRODUCTIVE DEVELOPMENT (HERD) SALE April 24 Tifton Bull Evaluation Center Irwinville Sale begins at 12:30 p.m. For more information, contact Dr. Lawton Stewart at 706-542-1852 or or Patsie T. Cannon at 229/386-3683 or 35th ANNUAL VIDALIA ONION FESTIVAL April 26-29 Vidalia This four-day event offers the Miss Vidalia Onion Pageant, a children’s parade, outdoor music concerts, arts and crafts festival, street dance, car show, the Kiwanis Onion Run, the Vidalia Onion Festival Rodeo and the famous onion-eating contest. For more information visit 2012 YOUNG HARRIS/UGA BEEKEEPING INSTITUTE May 10-12 Young Harris College 8 a.m. each day Young Harris This event, one of the most comprehensive beekeeping educational events in the Southeast, offers classes for beekeepers at all levels of experience and the annual honey show. May 10 is dedicated training and certification exams for journeymen and master beekeeper qualifications, as well as the Welsh honey judge training, the first licensing program for honey judges in North America. May 11 and 12 provide entry-level training and certification, including individual and colony biology, low-tech beekeeping, equipment construction and much more. Registration fees for 18 and older is $96 for one day and $152 for two days. For ages 11-18, fees are $44 for one day and $70 for two days. Participants are urged to preregister by April 30. On-site registration is allowed on a space-available basis, but classes generally fill up quickly. For more information, visit or contact Samantha Holland at or 706-769-1736. GEORGIA CENTENNIAL FARM APPLICATION DEADLINE IS MAY 1 Applications are being accepted for the Georgia Centennial Farm Program, which recognizes farms continuously operated by members of the same family for at least 100 years. The program is administered by the Historic Preservation Division of the Georgia Department of Natural Resources, Georgia Farm Bureau, Georgia Department of Agriculture, Georgia Forestry Commission, Georgia EMC and the Georgia National Fairgrounds & Agricenter. Application forms are available online at For more information, contact Steven Moffson at 404-651-5906 or TURKEY CREEK FESTIVAL May 5 Ga. Highway 23, west off I-75 exit 122 Byromville This annual festival features family-oriented fun for everyone. Events, include a 10 a.m. parade, exhibits, the local museum, game, rides, food, entertainment and much more. For more information visit or contact Mary Jo Jeter at or 478-244-1318. EARLY DAYS OF YESTERYEAR May 11-12 Copeland Hall, Bowdon-Tyus Road Bowdon This free event will feature antique farm equipment and engines, tools, antique cars, entertainment, activities for children, vendors and food. For more information, contact Gearald Fielder at 770-228-9502 or

Leadership Alert page 8 of 8 MONROE COUNTY HERD SALE May 12 Sleepy Creek Farm 12:30 p.m. Forsyth More than 80 bred heifers will be fore sale during the event. Data available on the heifers includes A.I. breeding and sire EPD’s, pelvic area, frame score, disposition score, weight per day of age and average daily gain. For more information contact the Monroe County Extension office by phone at 478-994-7014 or by email at Information about the sale may also be found online at GEORGIA COTTON WOMEN SCHOL. APPLICATION DEADLINE IS MAY 15 The John M. and Connie H. Mobley Memorial Scholarship is presented annually by the Georgia Cotton Women to the child or grandchild of an active Georgia cotton producer with priority given to children of Georgia Cotton Women members. In the event there is no child or grandchild of a GCW member eligible for the scholarship, the GCW Scholarship Committee has the discretion to present the award to another qualified candidate. This scholarship was established by the late John M. Mobley. It was continued by his wife Connie and is now carried on by their family. The $1,500 scholarship will be payable one-third each quarter or one-half each semester. Scholarship applications may be downloaded at http// For more information contact Charlotte Wingate at 229985-1435 or Nancy Coleman at 229-941-2930 or The deadline for application is May 15. CALHOUN BEEF CATTLE REPRODUCTIVE MANAGEMENT WORKSHOP May 29 NW GA Research & Education Center Livestock Pavilion Calhoun Sale begins at 6 p.m. Contact Ted Dyer at 706-624-1403 or or Phil Worley at 706/624-1398 - for more information. HEIFER EVALUATION & REPRODUCTIVE DEVELOPMENT (HERD) SALE May 30 NW GA Research & Education Center Livestock Pavilion Calhoun Sale begins at 12:30 p.m. For more information contact Ted Dyer at 706-624-1403 or or Phil Worley at 706-624-1398 or

Georgia Farm Bureau's Leadership Alert - March 28, 2012  

Georgia Farm Bureau's Leadership Alert - March 28, 2012

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