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March 22, 2017

Vol. 35 No. 6

STATE HALTS SOME POULTRY ACTIVITIES DUE TO AVIAN INFLUENZA In response to confirmation of poultry flocks infected with highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI) and low pathogenic avian influenza (LPAI)) in Tennessee and Alabama, Georgia State Veterinarian Dr. Robert Cobb ordered suspension of poultry exhibitions, shows, flea market sales and auctions, swaps and meets in Georgia on March 16. Cobb emphasized that avian influenza has not been found in Georgia The next issue of poultry, but recommended diligence in biosecurity practices by Georgia GFB News Alert poultry producers. He also noted that HPAI and LPAI do not pose food comes out safety concerns. All commercial poultry are tested prior to going to market April 5. and no affected commercial poultry enters the food chain. While backyard poultry may not be tested prior to processing, proper handling and cooking will destroy the viruses associated with HPAI and LPAI. The risk of human infection with avian influenza during poultry outbreaks is very low. Cobb urged poultry farmers to take a series of steps to prevent their flocks from being infected: • Implement strict biosecurity on all poultry premises. Everyone involved in poultry production - growers, farm workers and service personnel – should focus biosecurity methods on preventing any exposure to wild waterfowl or their droppings. Growers should keep up biosecurity at all times, especially as it relates to essential visitors and entry biosecurity; • All outdoor poultry should be moved into bio-secure housing and any contact with wild birds of any kind, especially waterfowl, their habitat, or their droppings should be avoided. If this is not possible, the Georgia Department of Agriculture should be notified; • Farmers who use rendering for dead poultry disposal should verify that the trucks are disinfected at each pick up and that the freezer area is kept clean and clutter free. Those who use rendering pick up for livestock, are asked to do the same. After visiting a rendering plant for any livestock, vehicles should be cleaned and disinfected before returning to the farm; • Take the necessary precautions around any congregation points for growers or backyard owners. Don’t wear clothes and shoes worn to work on your farm off the farm. Don’t wear shoes work off the farm into chicken houses; • Monitor all flocks for increased mortality or clinical signs consistent with Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza (HPAI), and report any concerns immediately. The consistent clinical sign in all the current reported cases to this point has been a marked rapid increase in mortality over several days; • Enroll in the National Poultry Improvement Plan (NPIP); • Please contact the HPAI hotline for reporting of sick birds or for questions related to HPAI. Georgia Department of Agriculture (855) 491-1432 Georgia Poultry Laboratory (770) 766-6850.

GFB News Alert page 2 of 12 FREEZING TEMPS RAVAGE GEORGIA FRUIT CROPS Georgia fruit growers were hit hard by the frigid temperatures that blanketed the state on March 15 and 16. While many were able to protect their crops by spraying water to form ice shells around fruit buds, others could be left with total crop losses. Blueberry growers in South Georgia were hit particularly hard. “The blueberry growers were very concerned,” said Georgia Fruit & Vegetable Growers Association Executive Director Charles Hall. “Some of these guys lost their entire crop.” According to a release from the Georgia Department of Agriculture, losses in the state’s blueberry crop are estimated as high as 80 percent overall. Hall said other crops are still waiting to see the extent of the damage from the mid-March freeze, which followed unseasonably warm weather that had prompted early blooms in many crops. “The early varieties of peaches – there was pretty significant damage done to that,” Hall said. “The later varieties that had not bloomed yet, the peach growers tell me it’ll be two to three weeks before they can tell how much damage there is.” Georgia’s production of fruits, vegetables and tree nuts were valued at more than $1.8 billion in 2015, according to the UGA Center for Agribusiness and Economic Development. Georgia Agriculture Commissioner Gary Black and Georgia House Ag Committee Chairman Tom McCall surveyed the damage to fruit and vegetable crops. The extreme temperatures were felt border to border, with farmers experiencing temperatures as low as 22 degrees as far south as Homerville, Georgia, near the Florida line. “It is still a little early to predict just how great the loss will be for some of the crops, but there is no denying the financial strain on these families caused by this event,” Black said. “I think it is safe to say that the losses will be in the hundreds of millions of dollars.” According to the Georgia Department of Agriculture, the state was poised to be the largest blueberry producing state for 2017. The annual blueberry farm gate value is over $255 million with a significantly greater economic impact. Other crops affected by the freeze include peaches, strawberries, watermelons, peppers and other tabletop vegetables. “As a farmer myself, the turmoil these folks are experiencing is gut-wrenching,” McCall said. “Our job now is to listen and support these farmers as a united Legislature.” SENATE AG COMMITTEE SETS CONFIRMATION HEARING FOR PERDUE The Senate Committee for Agriculture and Natural Resources has scheduled its confirmation hearing for Agriculture Secretary Nominee Sonny Perdue for March 23 at 10 a.m. The hearing will be webcast live at Perdue, who served as governor of Georgia from 2003 to 2011, was nominated for the post on Jan. 18 by President Donald Trump. Once approved by the Senate Ag Committee, Perdue will be considered by the full Senate. If confirmed, he will succeed Tom Vilsack as Agriculture Secretary, Sonny overseeing the department’s administration of farm bill programs as well as Perdue federal nutrition programs.

GFB News Alert page 3 of 12 GFB TAKING YF CONTEST ENTRIES, CONFERENCE REGISTRATION The GFB Young Farmer Committee is accepting applications for the Young Farmer Achievement Award, Excellence in Agriculture Award and Discussion Meet. Registration is also open for the GFB Young Farmer Leadership Conference, which will be held July 19-22 on Jekyll Island. GFB members between the ages of 18-35 may apply for these awards or attend the conference. Applications for the contests and conference will be accepted through May 26 at 4:30 p.m. and are available at county Farm Bureau offices. The GFB Achievement Award recognizes outstanding young farmers whose primary income is derived from farming. The GFB Excellence in Agriculture Award recognizes an outstanding individual or couple whose primary income is not derived from farming. Extension agents, FFA advisors and ag lenders are examples of individuals who may apply for this award. The GFB Discussion Meet gives young farmers and ag professionals the chance to discuss ag issues and explore solutions in an event designed to simulate a committee meeting. The state winners of each of the competitive events will be named at the GFB Young Farmer Leadership Conference in July. All rounds of the discussion meet and Excellence in Ag interviews for the top three applicants will be held at the leadership conference. The top three applicants for the achievement award will have on-farm interviews in late June. For more information on any of these awards or the conference, please visit or stop by your county Farm Bureau. The achievement award and discussion meet winners will each receive a $500 cash prize and a utility vehicle. Runners-up for the achievement award will get $500. Discussion meet runners-up will receive $350. The Excellence in Ag winner will receive an ATV and runners-up will get $500 cash. The winners of each contest will receive an expense-paid trip to compete at the American Farm Bureau Convention in Nashville, Tennessee, Jan. 6-11, 2018. DEADLINE FOR SUBMITTING PHOTO CONTEST ENTRIES IS MAY 12 What does agriculture look like in your part of Georgia? Once again, the Georgia Farm Bureau Young Farmer Committee is asking GFB members to share their photos of farm life and rural Georgia in its 8th Annual Picture Agriculture in Georgia Contest. We want to see your planting and harvest shots, farm kids, livestock, vegetable gardens, scenic barns and pastures. This contest is open to all GFB members, including county and state staff, who receive no income from photography. The winner will be featured on the front of the 2018 GFB Young Farmer Calendar and the 11 honorable mentions will grace the inside. Even if your photo doesn’t make the calendar, it might be featured on a cover of a GFB magazine or brochure. The first-place prize is $150 and the 11 honorable mentions receive $75 each. Only digital photos that are a minimum of 1 megabyte (MB) in file size may be submitted with a limit of four entries per person. All photos must have been shot in Georgia in 2016 or 2017. Photos that have been digitally enhanced will not be judged. All photos become the property of GFB. Digital photos must be sent as a JPEG file attachment via email to by 4:30 p.m. on May 12. If people are included in photos, you must complete a Model Release Entry Form and submit it with the photo. Visit your county Farm Bureau office for contest rules, entry instructions and the Model Release Form or visit the GFB website at

GFB News Alert page 4 of 12 FOUNDATION GALA CELEBRATES “DOWN ON THE FARM” In celebration of agricultural literacy efforts by the Georgia Farm Bureau Foundation for Agriculture, approximately 400 GFB members and guests were treated to a night “Down on the Farm,” featuring music from country act Post Monroe, a nice meal in a comfortable, quaint setting and a silent auction during the 3rd Annual Georgia Farm Bureau Foundation Gala, held March 11 at Southern Bridle Farm in Fort Valley. Proceeds from the gala and the silent auction added to the GFB Foundation’s financial resources, which are being used to provide scholarships for university, technical college and veterinary school students, supporting Georgia 4-H and FFA programs, Ag in the Classroom efforts and consumer outreach in communities across the state. The silent auction featured dozens of items and raised nearly $4,900. “I want to encourage each of you to engage yourselves into our ag literacy efforts of our foundation. Each of us can play a tremendous role in the future of Georgia agriculture,” said GFB President Gerald Long, who recognized the top contributors in his Gala address. “To spark the conversation with consumers, we must believe in what we are preaching and what we are supporting.” Long specifically recognized Gala Sponsors. VIP Sponsors included AVAMAR Farms, Douglas County Farm Bureau, Zippy and Bonnie Duvall, Houston County Farm Bureau, law firm James-Bates-Brannan-Groover and Gerald and Janice Long. Perdue Foods was a Cultivating Sponsor. Farm Bureau Bank and the Harley Langdale Jr. Foundation were Stewarding Sponsors. For more photos visit MURDOCK AMONG 25 TO GRADUATE FROM AGL PROGRAM Georgia Farm Bureau Member Services Director Jay Murdock was one of 25 participants to graduate from the Advancing Georgia’s Leaders in Agriculture and Forestry (AGL) program during a March 4 ceremony. Murdock was GFB’s designee for the two-year program. The program included two years of learning about Georgia’s largest industry and developing leadership skills. University of Georgia College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences faculty launched the program in 2012 to educate and empower Georgia’s agricultural and natural resource industry leaders to become effective advocates for the largest economic drivers in Georgia – the state’s agricultural and forestry industries. Jay Murdock Projects ranged from the launch of a communications initiative for the Georgia Farmers Market Association to the start of a servant-leadership initiative within an office. During their time in AGL, participants engaged in more than 110 interactive sessions, completed four behavioral assessments and helped one another understand and analyze issues facing their industries and challenges that may emerge in the future. Organizers are now accepting nominations for the upcoming AGL class that will begin in August 2017. Those seeking more information about the AGL program can visit

GFB News Alert page 6 of 12 SATSUMAS COULD BE GEORGIA’S NEXT BIG FRUIT CROP Georgia farmers are looking to add citrus, specifically satsumas, to the fruit basket of strawberries, blueberries, peaches, and apples currently grown in our state. About 300 people from Georgia and north Florida attended the annual meeting of the Georgia Citrus Association (GCA), which formed in October to support farmers interested in growing satsumas (sat-SUE-muh) and other citrus fruit. The meeting, held Feb. 27 at the UGA Tifton Campus, gave those considering the crop a chance to hear from veteran growers and fruit brokers and tour the UGA College of Agricultural & Environmental Sciences’ orchard. To see photos visit Satsumas, a small, seedless orange, are juicy, very sweet, low in acid and easy to peel. The fruit, harvested for about a month between late October to early December depending on weather, isn’t new to the Southeast. It’s been grown for years on a small scale in southern Alabama and Louisiana and the Florida Panhandle. Backyard trees are common along the Georgia/Florida line and Georgia coast. In recent years, landowners across South Georgia have been planting small orchards to diversify their farms and meet the growing demand for locally-grown fresh fruit. “We’re going out on a limb to invest in something that’s uncharted territory, but we’re not alone,” said GCA President Lindy Savelle. “We have the support of the Georgia Department of Agriculture, and UGA researchers are helping us by evaluating varieties.” Since 2006, about 50 growers have planted around 20,700 satsuma trees in 24 South Georgia counties, Savelle reported at the GCA meeting. Counties with the largest percentage of planted trees are Thomas (18 percent), Echols (13 percent), Bulloch (12 percent) and Lowndes (11 percent). Trees have been planted as far north as Dooly County. Lowndes County Extension Coordinator Jake Price has been working with growers along the Florida line since 2013 and sees potential for the crop in Georgia. “I’d always thought it would be good for Georgia because they do it in Alabama and Louisiana,” Price said. He’s quick to point out that cold weather will be the deciding factor on whether an interested farmer can grow the crop. “It only takes one good cold night dropping down into the teens to kill your trees,” Price said. “I wouldn’t recommend growing unless you have an irrigation freeze protection system.” Travis Murphy, president of River Country Management, said it’s important for potential growers to know the weather history of their potential orchard site. “Know your varieties and their cold hardiness. Know where the coldest points on your property are,” Murphy said. Price said Georgia satsuma orchards range from 15 trees on a half-acre to 450 trees on 15 acres with the average orchard being 2.5 – 3 acres. “The limiting factor in people planting trees is they can’t get enough trees,” Price said. Murphy said it takes 18-24 months for a nursery to grow citrus seedlings. “While you’re waiting on trees to become available, do your homework and prepare your orchard,” Murphy said. It doesn’t take a lot of trees to produce a lot of fruit. Mack Glass, a satsuma grower in Marianna, Florida, who is a GCA director and planted his first trees in 2003, said he has shipped five truckloads of fruit off a five-acre grove. Glass and other meeting speakers stressed the importance of growers developing a market -continued

GFB News Alert page 6 of 12 Continued from previous page strategy and planting other types of citrus along with satsumas. GCA Director Joe Franklin, who planted his first 200 trees in 2010 on his Bulloch County farm, sold his first large-scale satsuma crop in 2015. Franklin cleans and packages his satsumas in a small processing facility on his farm and sells the fruit at local farmers markets and stores and to customers who follow his farm on Facebook. “If all these people I see out here plant [satsuma] trees, there’s going to be a lot of [satsuma] fruit, and the harvest season is short, about a month,” Glass said. GCA members Kim and Angela Jones, who grow, pack and juice satsumas in Monticello, Florida, are using their larger, irregular-size satsumas to make juice, syrup and jelly. “We’re using our ugly fruit to make juice and value-added products,” Angela said. “The fruit is still good, but our customers won’t buy the irregular-shaped fruit.” The Joneses also sell orange pulp to local beef producers. Conference speakers urged potential growers to plant other citrus varieties along with satsumas. Diversifying allows a longer crop season and build a larger customer base, Murphy said. Dr. Wayne Hanna, a UGA CAES crop and soil sciences professor, has been working to develop coldhardy citrus varieties of tangerines, grapefruit and lemons that can tolerate South Georgia winters. The varieties are patented under the names of Sweet Frost (tangerine), Pink Frost (grapefruit) and Grand Frost (lemons). Savelle and her brother, Clay Lamar, have a license to sell these UGA patented varieties starting in 2018 from their Mitchell County nursery, 1 Dog Ventures, which is certified by the Georgia Department of Agriculture (GDA) and the USDA Animal & Plant Health Inspection Service to ensure their seedlings are free of disease and pests. They also sell Frost Owari, a variety of satsuma. “We are growing and selling what growers are asking for,” Savelle said. “Our focus is UGA varieties because we believe they are more cold tolerant.” Murphy said growers can plant different varieties of citrus in the same orchard if they are not cross pollinating, but he advised growers to do their research and be careful not to plant varieties close to each other that will cross pollinate. “There is risk in everything you do and there’s risk in this, too. I mitigated my risk by finding some experts to come in and help me set up my groves half in satsumas and half in other citrus,” said GCA Vice President Andy Jackson. “If you’re looking to grow citrus you should join the Georgia Citrus Association so you can have access to information that will help you.” The GCA is working with the GDA to establish rules and regulations for Georgia’s citrus community to prevent the human-assisted spread of pests and diseases that could harm the crop. “The Georgia Department of Agriculture’s regulations are addressing who can bring plants into the state. We want them to be from USDA approved nurseries,” said Mike Evans, program director of the GDA Plant Protection Section. “You guys are spending a lot of money going into business. Our purpose is to help protect your investment not to fight against you folks.” In 2009 the GDA found Asian Citrus Psyllid (ACP) – a bug that carries greening disease – in all of Georgia’s coastal counties. Evans said greening disease, which causes citrus trees to bear small, irregularly shaped fruit with a thick peel that remains green at the bottom and tastes very bitter, has only been detected in Chatham and Camden counties as of 2009. Evans said the GDA is looking to conduct surveys to determine current populations of ACP and citrus greening. GCA membership fees are $50. Anyone interested in joining may contact the group by email at or by phone at 413-642-1463.

GFB News Alert page 7 of 12 VIDALIA ONION COMMITTEE GIVES GROWER OF YEAR, HOF AWARDS Aries Haygood from M & T Farms was named grower of the year and Dr. Ronald Gitaitis of the University of Georgia's College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences (CAES) was inducted to the Vidalia Onion Hall of Fame during the organization’s annual awards banquet in February. Each year, the Vidalia Onion Committee (VOC) selects a grower or overall farm of the year to recognize achievement and success as a producer of Vidalia Onions with an emphasis on quality production and compliance with the Marketing Order. Haygood is general manager of M & T Farms, a family-owned and operated business. M & T Farms has been in business for almost 30 years and averages 400 acres of Vidalia Onions each year. Haygood manages the farm for his father-in-law, Terry Collins, who was named grower of the year in 2002. Dr. Gitaitis is a plant pathologist at the UGA CAES on the Tifton campus. Gitaitis has spent his career researching bacterial diseases that affect Vidalia onions. He has published numerous reports and journal articles. He has mentored other scientists at UGA and other institutions throughout his career. Many of his discoveries have shaped the production practices in the Vidalia region. He has provided 37 years of service to UGA and will retire in June. “It was a great honor to present the Grower of the Year Award to Aries Haygood who has served as vice chair and chairman of the Vidalia Onion Committee,” said VOC Executive Director Susan Waters. “ We also wanted to recognize Dr. Gitaitis’ contribution to the Vidalia industry especially since the University of Georgia has played a key role in providing critical crop research and helping the industry by providing unbiased scientific data to the growers.” IVEY VISITS WHITE HOUSE

Stephens County Farm Bureau member Brittany Ivey visited the White House on March 13 as part of a group of business owners who discussed with President Donald Trump how the Affordable Care Act has affected their businesses. (photo courtesy of the White House)

GFB News Alert page 8 of 12 BOYDS WIN NATIONAL FARMING AWARD Screven County Farm Bureau members Ben and Julie Anna Boyd were one of four couples to receive the 2017 National Outstanding Young Farmer Award at the Outstanding Farmers of America (OFA) Awards Congress held Feb. 9-12 in Greenville, South Carolina. The Boyds were one of 10 couples nominated for the award nationwide. OFA membership is comprised of past nominees of the Outstanding Young Farmer Program and has about 1,500 members nationwide. The group is designed to facilitate an exchange of ideas and friendship that encourages excellence and involvement in agriculture and the local, state, and national community. The Boyds raise cattle and grow cotton, peanuts, corn and soybeans along with Ben’s father Olin and his brother Will, working approximately 4,000 acres. Ben has served on the Georgia Farm Bureau Board of Directors representing the organization’s 7th District since 2006. He also serves on the Screven County Farm Ben and Julie Anna Boyd Bureau Board of Directors. He also serves on the National Cotton Board and has served on the Georgia Cotton Commission Advisory Board. The Boyds attend Jackson Baptist Church in Sylvania and have one son. AMERICA’S FARMERS MOM OF THE YEAR CONTEST Farm moms go above and beyond to take care of their families, livestock and crops. If you know a farm mom who deserves special recognition visit and complete an online entry or print a form for mailing by 11:59 p.m. ET March 31. Nominations are limited to 300 words and should include details about the nominee’s contributions to her farm, family, community and agriculture. A panel of judges from American Agri-Women will judge the nominations and contest sponsor, Monsanto, will select five regional winners based on the judges’ decisions. Each of the regional winners will receive $2,000 to direct to an eligible nonprofit organization of her choice and a $3,000 personal prize. One of the five regional winners will be named America’s Farmers Mom of the Year based on public voting and will receive an additional $2,000 to direct to an eligible nonprofit in her community. Georgia is in the contest’s Southeast region which also includes Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee and Virginia. Nominated moms must have at least one child or have legal guardianship of at least one child and work on a U.S. farm that meets at least one of the following criteria: grows at least 250 acres of corn, soybeans, cotton, canola, sorghum, wheat or alfalfa; or grows at least 40 acres of fruit or vegetables; or raises at least 100 head of cattle or hogs; or raises at least 50 head of dairy cows; or raises at least 50 head o sheep; or raises at least 25 head of goats; or raises at least 20,000 head of poultry or manages at least 200 colonies of honey bees.

GFB News Alert page 9 of 12 GEORGIA PECAN GROWERS ASSOCIATION ANNUAL CONFERENCE March 28-29 UGA Conference Center Tifton This annual event features a golf tournament on March 28 at Springhill Country Club in Tifton and a welcome reception that evening at the UGA Conference Center. The conference will include an orchard tour March 28 hosted by Dr. Lenny Wells at the UGA Tifton Ponder Farm at 1 p.m. On March 29, educational sessions will be presented by vendors, researchers and financial advisors, as well as a grower’s panel on world production. Registration is $50 per person and spouses may attend for free. Online registration is available at For more information contact Janice or Rosemary at 229-382-2187 or or GEORGIA CORN AND TOBACCO COMMISSION REFERENDUMS Voting is open through March 30 Georgia corn and tobacco farmers will vote in referendums on renewing their respective grower assessments, which fund the Georgia Corn Commission and the Georgia Tobacco Commission. The current assessment for corn is one cent per bushel. The current assessment for tobacco is set at 50 cents per hundredweight. The commissions are charged by law with providing programs of research, promotion and education on behalf of Georgia corn and tobacco producers. Growers should receive a ballot in the mail and must sign the back of the envelope for the ballot to be valid. Any unsigned ballot envelopes will not be counted. Corn growers who do not receive a ballot should contact the Georgia Corn Commission or the Georgia Department of Agriculture in Atlanta at 404-586-1405. Tobacco growers who do not receive a ballot should contact the Georgia Tobacco Commission in Tifton at 229-386-3468, or the Georgia Department of Agriculture in Atlanta at 404-586-1405. 2017 PEANUT PROUD FESTIVAL March 25 Downtown area Blakely This annual event features free concerts all day, the Peanut Proud Parade, arts & crafts, a 5K road race, kids’ peanut obstacle course, a street dance and much more. For more information visit Festivities begin at 9 a.m. JOURNEYMAN FARMER CERTIFICATE PROGRAM Small Farm Business Planning March 31-April 1 Gwinnett County Government Annex Lawrenceville UGA Extension is launching this program to provide comprehensive training for beginning farmers. Training is from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. both days. This session covers small farm business planning and is the first part of a three-part program to receive the certificate. Deadline to register is March 24. Cost is $50 per person and checks should be made payable to Gwinnett Extension/4H. Note: There will be no onsite registration. For more information, contact Tim Daly at 678-3774011 or Small Fruit and Vegetable Production June 15-17 Gwinnett County Government Annex Lawrenceville The second session, Small Fruit and Vegetable Production, will be June 15-17 beginning at 8 a.m. each day. Lunch will be served on Thursday and Friday only. The cost for this session is $75 per person and the registration deadline is June 7. Georgia Organics and the Georgia Fruit & Vegetable Growers Association will coordinate hands-on training. For more information, contact Tenisio Seanima at

GFB News Alert page 10 of 12 ‘GEE HAW WHOA BACK’ RODEO April 7-8 Abraham Baldwin Agricultural College Arena Tifton Spectators will be entertained with riveting competition during this Professional Cowboy Association-sanctioned rodeo, which begins at 7:30 p.m. each evening. Gates open at 7 p.m. Tickets are $10 for general admission, $5 for children 6 – 12 years old and free to ABAC students and children five years old and under. Rodeo tickets will be sold in advance and at the gate on the two days of the event. The rodeo is a part of a week-long series of events on April 3 - 9 designed for students, alumni and the general public. For more information on rodeo tickets or the Homecoming Week, interested persons can contact the ABAC Office of College Advancement at 229-391-4900 or go to USDA VALUE ADDED GRANT WORKSHOP April 10 Georgia Farm Bureau 9:30 a.m. – 1 p.m. Macon This free workshop is presented by USDA Rural Development, The University of Georgia’s Center for Agribusiness and Economic Development, and The Center of Innovation for Agribusiness with support from Georgia Farm Bureau. The VAPG program helps agricultural producers enter into value-added activities related to the processing and/or marketing of biobased, value-added products. Generating new products, creating and expanding marketing opportunities, and increasing producer income are the goals of this program. Independent producers, farmer or rancher cooperatives, agricultural producer groups, and producer-owned business ventures, including non-profit organizations are eligible to apply. The workshop will cover tips from successful grant writers, feasibility studies and services provided by the Center of Innovation for Agribusiness. While there is no cost to attend, pre-registration by April 5 is required to guarantee lunch. To register visit FORT VALLEY STATE HAM & EGG BREAKFAST & GA AG SHOWCASE April 12 Fort Valley State University Pettigrew Center 8 a.m. Fort Valley The public is invited to attend this annual event, during which legislators will interact with guests, describe their initiatives and explain their positions on current issues. Elected officials at the local, state and national levels have been invited to attend. Cost is $10. For more information, contact Joy-Moten-Thomas at 478-825-6954 or GEORGIA FARM AND EROSION CONTROL EXPO April 21-22 Jim Miller Park Marietta This expo, sponsored in part by Cobb County Farm Bureau, provides a hands-on look at the latest in erosion and sedimentation control products. Ranger Nick will speak on April 21 and Walter Reeves will speak on April 22. Visitors can explore the latest in agricultural equipment technology, learn to garden and how to prepare fresh foods, get tips on raised-bed gardening, take home locally grown plants and foods and have questions answered on-site by master gardeners. For more information visit

GFB News Alert page 11 of 12 EXPORTING 101 SEMINAR April 27 Savannah Trade and Convention Center 1 p.m. – 5 p.m. Savannah Join the Southern United States Trade Association, the Georgia Department of Economic Development, and the World Trade Center Savannah for a free seminar on the steps and challenges in becoming a successful exporter of food and agriculture-based products. A panel discussion will give attendees valuable insight into what it takes to start exporting their products to international markets. Topics to be covered include: How to start exporting your product, the Georgia Grown program, and SUSTA's 50 percent cost share program. Hear from international bankers, freight forwarders, and other industry professionals who've experienced success in exporting. SUSTA representatives will be available before and after the seminar to meet one-on-one with companies interested in learning more about SUSTA's programming. To schedule a meeting following the speakers, please email Mike Swanson at Visit to register. GEORGIA CENTENNIAL FARM PROGRAM May 1 Deadline to apply The Georgia Centennial Farm Program honors farms in three categories. The Centennial Heritage Farm Award honors farms owned by members of the same family for 100 years or more that are listed in the National Register of Historic Places. The Centennial Farm Award doesn’t require continuous family ownership, but farms must be at least 100 years old and listed in the National Register of Historic Places. The Centennial Family Farm Award honors farms owned by members of the same family for 100 years or more that aren’t listed in the National Register of Historic Places. More than 500 farms have been recognized through the Centennial Farm Program since it began in 1993. Farm owners interested in applying for the award in 2017 should visit to download an application or contact Allison Asbrock at 770389-7868 or Applications must be postmarked by May 1. MONROE COUNTY HERD SALE May 6 Sleepy Creek Farm 12:30 p.m. Forsyth Approximately 65 bred heifers will be available at this sale. Data on the heifers includes AI breeding and Sire EPDs, pelvic area, frame scores, disposition scores, weight per day of age and average daily gain. For more information or to receive a catalog, contact the Monroe County Extension office at 478-994-7014 or (type HERD in the subject line). Information is also available online at YOUNG HARRIS/UGA BEEKEEPING INSTITUTE May 10-13 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. Sessions provide training and certification, including individual and colony biology, hive equipment, off-season management and much more. Advanced beekeeper and honey judge program lectures & testing (open to registered participants only) to be held on May 10. Registration fees for ages 18 and older are $130 for May 11, $130 for May 12, $100 for May 13 and $300 for all three days. For ages 17 and under, fees are $100 for May 11, $65 for May 12, $50 for May 13 and $150 for all three days. Space is limited and classes generally fill up quickly. For more information, visit

GFB News Alert page 12 of 12 RMA PECAN TREE INSURANCE PROGRAM May 15 sales closing date A Pecan Tree Insurance Program has been officially approved and implemented by the USDA Risk Management Agency and will be available to growers starting with the 2018 crop year, which begins on July 1. Growers have been able to insure their pecan crop for several years and now they can also insure their trees to protect them from losses due to storms. To learn more about the program visit to learn more about the program. Interested growers will need to visit with their crop insurance agents before the May 15 sales closing date if they wish to participate in the program for the upcoming crop year. 2017 AGAWARE WORKSHOP Aug. 25 Burke County Office Park Waynesboro AgSouth Farm Credit and AgGeorgia Farm Credit are hosting this informative workshops 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

Georgia Farm Bureau News Alert - March 22, 2017  

In this week's GFB News Alert... Georgia halts some poultry activities due to avian influenza, freezing temperatures ravage Georgia fruit c...

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