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Vol. 81 No. 2

May/June 2019




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tough tasks look easy, whether you’re working on the job or heading out on a weekend of recreation. F-150 outperforms every other truck in its class when hauling cargo in the bed or towing a trailer.**


Farm Bureau members receive



2019 FORD F-150

Don’t miss out on this offer. Visit today! *Class is Full-Size Pickups under 8,500 lbs. GVWR based on Ford segmentation. **Max payload on F-150 XL Regular Cab, 8’ box, 5.0L V8 4x2, Heavy-Duty Payload Package and 18” heavy-duty wheels (not shown). Max towing on F-150 XL SuperCrew®, 6.5’ box, 3.5L EcoBoost® 4x2, and Max Trailer Tow Package (not shown). ***Farm Bureau Bonus Cash is exclusively for active Farm Bureau members who are residents of the United States. This incentive is not available on Shelby GT350®, Shelby® GT350R, Mustang BULLITT, Ford GT, Focus RS and F-150 Raptor. This offer may not be used in conjunction with most other Ford Motor Company private incentives or AXZDPlans. Some customer and purchase eligibility restrictions apply. Must be a Farm Bureau member for 30 consecutive days prior to purchase and take new retail delivery from dealer by January 2, 2020. Visit or see your authorized Ford Dealer for qualifications and complete details.

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3/12/19 1:18 PM


Girl power: Celebrating 50 years of Women in FFA


Disaster aid & farm bill main topics GFB leaders take to D.C.

May/June 2019

View from the Field GFB needs you!..................................4

Public Policy Update Ga. legalizes hemp farming..............5

Young Farmers & Ranchers Update Bruce wins AFBF contest YF&R travels to D.C................. 24 & 25

Around Georgia............26-27 Ag in the Classroom Update GFB Scholarship Winners.................21 GFB Essay & Art Winners........ 28 & 29

GFB News staff

Kenny Burgamy Jennifer Whittaker Jay Stone Lillian Davis

Director Editor Print/Web Specialist Design/Advertising

For information concerning advertising, contact Wendy McFarland at 334-652-9080 or For questions about your membership or member benefits, call 1-800-633-5432. For questions regarding editorial content call 478-474-0679, ext. 5334 or e-mail

Visit the GFB Web site today! GFB.ORG Georgia Farm Bureau TV: “Like” us on Facebook: Follow us on Twitter: Check us out on Pinterest: Follow us on Instagram:

Meet some of the outstanding Georgia women who have worn FFA jackets the last 50 years. 6-7

GFB county leaders and staff traveled to D.C. in early May to meet with Georgia’s Congressional delegation. 8-9

Pecan Growers: Pick new varieties when replanting

Pecan growers who lost trees to Hurricane Michael are being encouraged to stay away from the Stuart & Desirable varieties when replanting. 10

First responders trained for livestock highway incidents

Accidents involving tractor-trailers hauling cattle in recent years prompted a series of workshops across Georgia to teach emergency teams how to respond. 12

Peanut grading redesign progressing

The redesign of the process used to inspect & grade peanuts at buying points is a step closer to completion, project leaders say. 13

Experts offer tips for managing forage land in wet conditions

Excess rain last fall & this winter have created pasture issues for Georgia cattlemen & hay producers. 14

Ag program sprouts at Emmanuel College

This private school in Franklin County offers a bachelor’s degree in diversified agriculture. 16

N.C. lawsuits show Ga. needs stronger Right to Farm law

Lawsuits against North Carolina hog farms highlight the need for Georgia’s Right to Farm law to be strengthened. 18

GFB honors Ga. Jr. National Grand Champions

Georgia Farm Bureau awarded $18,000 to 4-H & FFA members who won top honors at the state livestock show. 20

Farming by the numbers

The 2017 Census of Agriculture shows the biggest change in Georgia has been a shift in farm size. Also, Georgia’s new, beginning farmers are middle-aged, not young farmers.


about the cover--------------------------------------------

Georgia’s 20-county Vidalia onion region grows about 40% of U.S. sweet onions. The sun was setting when Toombs County Farm Bureau Office Manager Christie Montford shot this photo at Cowart Farms. The 2019 crop is in stores now.

Georgia Farm Bureau News May-June 2019 / 3

view from the field Gerald Long, GFB President

Georgia Farm Bureau needs you

All kinds of organizations offer mem- benefit from the legislative work Farm berships: civic clubs like Rotary Club; pro- Bureau does. fessional societies, like the National Asso- If you’re benefiting from GFB’s adciation of County Ag Agents; youth clubs vocacy work or support the values and like FFA and 4-H. Being a member of an rural lifestyle Farm Bureau works to uporganization signifies a commitment to a hold, please join Farm Bureau to ensure cause you support. our efforts continue If you work in any on your behalf. segment of Georgia If you enjoy tax agriculture or live in a savings through rural community and the Conservation want it to grow, YOU Use Value Assessshould be a Georgia ment (CUVA) or Farm Bureau member. Georgia AgriculturFarm Bureau is doing al Tax Exemption meaningful work to Georgia Farm Bureau took a (GATE) programs, keep Georgia’s farms group of its county leaders to D.C. keep in mind that thriving. These farms in May to meet with Georgia’s Con- Georgia Farm Bugressional delegation. GFB members create jobs and sup- presented Friend of Farm Bureau reau advocated port businesses that awards from American Farm Bureau to get these prokeep rural economies to 11 Georgia Congressmen. GFB grams, which save alive. Farm Bureau President Gerald Long presents Sen. you money each also invests in the fu- Johnny Isakson with his award. year, put in place. ture leaders of Georgia’s communities by One of the biggest misconceptions supporting local sports teams and live- about Farm Bureau membership is stock shows. that you have to have insurance with Thriving farms benefit consumers us or be a farmer. Neither is required. because they keep store shelves stocked Our $35 annual dues give our memwith the variety of safe, affordable food bers access to a wide variety of memwe all rely on. Cuba and Venezuela are ber benefits, which includes our insurexperiencing food rationing because their ance, but each member chooses which food systems have collapsed. Farm Bureau of the benefits they use. works to keep this from happening here. Other member benefits include For 82 years, GFB has served as the discounts with John Deere, CASE voice of Georgia agriculture in the legis- IH, CAT, Grainger, Ford, numerous lative arena. Our members tell our state national hotel chains, rental car comstaff the issues we need to address to keep panies, health services and Georgia Georgia agriculture humming. amusement parks. You can recoup the GFB speaks up any time a state or fed- cost of our $35 membership dues with eral issue is important to Georgia farmers one use of most of our benefits. by visiting or contacting Georgia or U.S. If you’re a farmer, have a job related elected officials and working with state to agriculture or live in a rural commuand federal agencies. nity, please join our cause. Your mem This spring, we took two groups to bership will ensure we’re around anWashington, D.C., to let Georgia’s Con- other 82 years to work on your behalf gressional delegation know where we in the legislative arena and continue stand on trade, disaster relief, ag labor and sponsoring youth development projects more. GFB staff were in Atlanta every day like livestock shows and scholarships. of the Georgia General Session represent- Visit to join oning Georgia agriculture. line or to find contact information for All Georgia landowners and farmers your county Farm Bureau. 4 / May-June 2019




Farm Bureau Members: Included in dues — $1 per year Non-Members — $15 per year To subscribe call 1-800-898-1911, ext. 5334.


President GERALD LONG, Bainbridge 1st Vice President and Middle Georgia Vice President ROBERT FOUNTAIN JR., Adrian North Georgia Vice President BERNARD SIMS, Ringgold South Georgia Vice President DANIEL JOHNSON, Alma General Counsel DUKE GROOVER Chief Financial Officer & Corp. Treasurer DAVID JOLLEY Chief Administrative Officer & Corp. Secretary JON HUFFMASTER

DIRECTORS FIRST DISTRICT: Bill Bryan, Summerville; Wesley Hall, Cumming SECOND DISTRICT: Bobby Gunter, Dahlonega; Randy Ruff, Elberton THIRD DISTRICT: George Chambers, Carrollton; Nora Goodman, Temple FOURTH DISTRICT: Skeetter McCorkle, Dearing; Marvin Ruark, Bishop FIFTH DISTRICT: Ralph Adamson Jr., Barnesville; Matt Bottoms, Molena SIXTH DISTRICT: James Malone, Dexter; James Emory Tate, Denton SEVENTH DISTRICT: Gary Bell, Bellville; Ben Boyd, Sylvania EIGHTH DISTRICT: Scotty Raines, Sycamore; Don Wood, Rochelle NINTH DISTRICT: Lucius Adkins, Newton; Paul Shirah, Camilla TENTH DISTRICT: Lamar Vickers, Nashville; David Lee, Alma YOUNG FARMER CHAIRMAN: Ben Cagle, Ball Ground WOMEN’S COMMITTEE CHAIR: Nancy Kennedy, Devereux


All advertising accepted subject to publisher’s approval. Advertisers must assume liability for content of their advertising. Publisher maintains right to cancel advertising for non-payment or reader complaint about advertiser service or products. Publisher does not accept per-order, political or alcoholic beverage ads, nor does publisher prescreen or guarantee advertiser service or products. Publisher assumes no liability for products or services advertised in the Georgia Farm Bureau News. For advertising rates and information, contact Wendy McFarland at 334-652-9080 or Georgia Farm Bureau News was established in 1937. Copyright 2019 by the Georgia Farm Bureau Federation. Printed by Panaprint, Macon, Georgia.

Georgia Farm Bureau News

Andris Tkachenko/Getty Images

public policy update By Raynor Churchwell

Georgia legalizes hemp farming The Georgia General Assembly passed the Georgia Hemp Farming Act (House Bill 213) right before it adjourned in April. Gov. Brian Kemp signed it into law May 10. The hemp farming act authorizes the research, production, processing and regulation of industrial hemp in Georgia. Hemp growers will be issued an annual license, which will cost $50 an acre with a maximum fee set at $5,000. To receive a license, a farmer must be a qualified agricultural producer, which would be any farmer who qualifies for and obtains a Georgia Agricultural Tax Exemption (GATE) Card from the Georgia Department of Agriculture (GDA). Farmers must pass a criminal background check by local law enforcement and disclose GPS coordinates for fields and greenhouses where hemp will be grown. Hemp processor permits will be issued annually. The initial fee will be $25,000 the first year. Processors will be entitled to annual automatic permit renewals with a fee of $10,000. Every processor must be bonded and provide a written agreement with growers which governs their business relationship. All licensing will be done by the GDA, which will provide the regulatory measures for the commodity. Until 1937, hemp was grown in many crop rotations nationwide. The Marijuana Tax Act of 1937 placed a tax on all cannabis sales, including hemp, reducing hemp production. The Controlled Substances Act, passed in 1970, made hemp illegal. This changed in the 2014 farm bill, which established hemp production pilot programs. The 2018 farm bill made growing industrial hemp and its products legal at the federal level. States must either follow the federal hemp regulatory plan or submit their own plan for approval. As with any new commodity, a certain level of caution should be taken. At this time, interested producers have more questions than answers. Below are an-

swers to questions we are being asked.

What is hemp?

Hemp includes all varieties of Cannabis that contain minimal amounts of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), which produces a “high.”

How do hemp & marijuana differ?

Both come from the same cannabis species but are genetically distinct and different in use, chemical makeup and cultivation methods. Per federal regulations, industrial hemp must contain less than 0.3% THC. Marijuana contains high quantities of THC and low amounts of cannabidiol (CBD) oil. The opposite is true of hemp. HB 213 deals solely with hemp. The cultivation/processing of medical marijuana is addressed by HB 324, The Georgia Hope Act, which Gov. Kemp signed April 17.

When can Ga. farmers start growing hemp?

hemp to human food or dietary supplements or animal feed is still illegal.

How does CBD differ from THC?

CBD and THC differ by a single atom in their chemical makeup. CBD cannot get you “high.” No matter how much you ingest, inhale, or topically apply, no psychological affect will be achieved using CBD oil.

What happens if hemp tests ‘hot”?

GDA or independent contracted entities will randomly test hemp crops throughout the growing season. If hemp tests greater than 0.33% THC, which is often referred to as the crop being “hot,” the crop must be destroyed. If a crop tests 0.3 - 0.33% THC, then it may be retested. If the retest is above the 0.3% threshold, the crop must be destroyed. If a producer is required to destroy his or her crop, their processor must reimburse half of the production costs.

Now the bill is law, colleges and universities may begin hemp research. Farmers are not expected to be allowed to grow hemp in 2019. The GDA must first submit hemp regulation plans to the USDA. Once approved, GDA must write rules governing the production and processing of hemp.

Can marijuana cross-pollinate with hemp?

What is hemp used for?

Are pesticides labeled for hemp?

Hemp can be used in many ways depending on the part of the plant processed. The two most common uses are cosmetics and cannabidiol (CBD) oil. Hemp fibers are used in fabrics, paper, carpeting, construction materials and auto parts.

What is CBD oil used for?

CBD oil is thought to ease pain and inflammation. It has also been used to treat anxiety, stress, epilepsy, insomnia and some forms of cancer. At this time, per the Federal Food & Drug Administration, adding CBD oil or

Because marijuana and hemp are of the same species, cross pollination can occur. Cross pollination could lead to an increase in THC concentration in the hemp crop, causing it to test “hot.” Cross pollination can also decrease THC levels in marijuana. Currently, no herbicides, insecticides, fungicides, etc. are labeled for hemp. Any applications of the aforementioned are offlabel and illegal.

Does the Federal Crop Insurance Act cover hemp?

Yes, as outlined in the 2018 farm bill. Coverage is expected to be available for 2020. Raynor Churchwell is an ag programs specialist in the GFB Public Policy Department. He may. Be reached at 4780679,ext. 5288 or

Georgia Farm Bureau News May-June 2019 / 5

Girl Power:

Celebrating 50 years of Women in FFA With so many women involved in FFA/ag education today, it’s easy to forget this wasn’t always the case. On Oct. 15, 1969, delegates at the 42nd Annual National FFA Convention voted all students of vocational agriculture classes could become FFA members. Before that, girls couldn’t wear

FFA’s iconic blue corduroy jacket. At its annual convention in April, Georgia FFA celebrated this upcoming 50th anniversary by recognizing some of the ladies who have opened doors for their gender in FFA. Visit to meet them.

By Jennifer Whittaker ______________________________________

6 / May-June 2019

Photo by Jennifer Whittaker

The way it was

In 1930, two years after FFA was established, members voted that membership was only for male students. At the 1935 national convention, Massachusetts FFA member Alfred Vaughan introduced the idea of allowing girls to join without success. Before 1969, state and local chapters allowed female participation at varying levels. Some girls took ag ed classes but couldn’t become FFA members. Some FFA chapters let girls join but listed them on membership rolls by first initials instead of first names to keep gender hidden. From 1949 to 1969, National FFA encouraged local chapters to select young ladies to serve as Chapter Sweethearts. Girls chosen for this honor received a white jacket to wear. Katrina Cheek McIntosh, a retired teacher in the Colquitt County School System and wife of Moultrie Mayor Bill McIntosh, fondly remembers serving as the Butler High School FFA Chapter Sweetheart for the 1963-64 school year. It was a busy year for her as she was also serving as state president of the Future Business Leaders of America. “It was a special thing to be selected by my peers to represent the FFA students,” McIntosh said. “I had a lot of knowledge of parliamentary procedure from Future Business Leaders of America, and I helped the FFA officers with that. I welcomed guests to their meetings and helped the members learn manners. They were very receptive to my help because they wanted to put their best foot forward.” McIntosh also served as hostess for the chapter meetings and provided refreshments with help from her mother. McIntosh graduated from the University of Georgia with a degree in speech communication and rhetoric. While her husband, Bill, attended UGA’s law school, she taught public speaking at UGA for three years. After

Ladies honored at the ’19 Georgia FFA Convention for their contributions to FFA were, from left: Lynne Cook, Lula Williams, Carol Spruill Lawrence, Katrina McIntosh, Hillary Smith Stringfellow & Jaky Cervantes. Cook is a veteran ag teacher. Williams was Georgia’s second African-American female ag teacher. Lawrence won the state wiring contest. McIntosh was the 1963-64 Butler High FFA Chapter Sweetheart. Stringfellow was the first Georgia female to be National FFA president. Cervantes was the first Hispanic elected a Georgia FFA officer. More photos at

they moved to Moultrie, Bill’s hometown, she taught fifth grade until retiring. McIntosh still admires the leadership and public speaking skills FFA teaches its members. That’s why she supports local FFA projects and works with students.

Times, They Are A Changin’

The 1960s was a time of empowerment for women across the U.S., and FFA took notice. At the 1964 national convention, a Connecticut delegate, Paul Miller, proposed opening membership to women. His amendment failed. In January of 1966, a committee was formed to review membership. In August, the National FFA Board of Directors proposed a constitutional change based on the committee’s work to remove the word male from the constitution. By 1967, about 3,300 females nationwide were taking ag classes and more states accepted women as FFA members. Delegates at

the 1967 and 1968 national conventions shot down amendments to open FFA membership to girls before allowing female members in 1969. Jack Spruill, who served as a Georgia FFA officer from 1969 to 1970, remembers being asked what he thought about letting girls become FFA members when he interviewed to be a state officer. “I know I answered that I didn’t have a problem with it. The interviews took place behind closed doors, but I have to think anyone who answered negatively didn’t make it onto the state officer team,” Spruill said. As a state officer, Spruill attended FFA chapter events across Georgia where he noticed young ladies attending FFA as silent members. “There were a lot of young ladies at my school [Milton High School in Fulton County] who showed cattle and hogs through 4-H, but we didn’t have an FFA Chapter Sweetheart or girls at our meetings,” Spruill said. “I learned Georgia Farm Bureau News

Into the classroom

After girls were allowed to join FFA, it was only natural they would want to become ag teachers. The 201 women teaching agriculture in Georgia today have ladies like Connie Collier, Cindy Williams Greene and Lynne Cook to thank for leading the way. Collier was an FFA advisor/ag teacher at Cass High School in Bartow County for 33 years before retiring in 2012. She became the first woman to teach ag ed in the Southeast when she started teaching in South Alabama in 1972. “The younger guys that I came up with at Auburn were all really good to me. They didn’t show resentment, but when I started teaching it was hard for a lot of the older male ag teachers,” Collier recalled. After teaching at several Alabama schools for seven years, Collier moved to Cartersville in 1979. “When I started at Cass it was a different world. It was a much better environment to teach in,” Collier said. “Later on, when it wasn’t so difficult, I think girls saw females in the field of ag education and it encouraged them.” Greene was active in the Dodge County High FFA in the early 1970s and was the first girl the chapter elected an officer. She earned a B.S. in agriculture and a master’s in ag educa-

tion from UGA before she started teaching ag in 1979 in Toombs County then Dodge County from 1980-1994. She became a Georgia Agriculture Education (GAE) area horticulture teacher in 1997. In 2001 she was promoted to GAE Central Region Coordinator, a position she held until her retirement in 2010. “My fellow teachers always treated me equally and made me feel welcome in the early years of my career when there were no other female teachers, ” Greene said. Cook has been teaching ag ed and advising FFA students at Tift County High since 1988. Having been an FFA member for three years in high school, Cook was encouraged to pursue a career in ag education after she realized God didn’t intend her to be a veterinarian. “FFA is a student transformation program. It’s amazing to watch students go from being shy to national winners and owning their own businesses,” Cook said. “It’s not because I’m a good teacher. The program itself was built on a tradition of success.” During her 31-year career, Cook has taught 14 state FFA officers and inspired 15 students to become ag ed teachers.

Setting the world on fire

In 1978, Georgia FFA elected its first female state officer - Jennifer Kelly of Floyd County. Since then, 156 females have served as state officers. Georgia FFA elected its first female president – Priscilla Weldon of Jackson County – in 1990. Lynn Ress, Franklin County FFA, was the first girl to win the state tractor driving contest in 1984. Kay Farmer, Oglethorpe County FFA, was the first girl to earn the state Star Farmer award in 1991. Hillary Smith Stringfellow became the first female from Georgia to serve as a national officer when elected National FFA president in 1997. A member of the Perry High FFA chapter, Stringfellow served as a state officer from 1995-1996. She was drawn to FFA because her grandparents farmed and her dad and cousins had been members. Stringfellow says highlights of her national presidency were the National FFA Center relocating from Virginia to Indianapolis in 1998 and presiding over the last national convention held in Kansas City in 1998. A lawyer in Brunswick, Stringfellow credits FFA for giving her the public speaking skills that help her in her career today. “Every FFA member today has the opportunity to become anything they want to be,” Stringfellow said.

Photo courtesy of Carol Lawrence

from going to FFA events across the state that ag teachers ruled their programs differently.” Spruill, who now works for the Georgia Department of Agriculture, also remembers attending the 1969 national convention when the historic vote was cast. “I think at that point there were lots of different attitudes. As students we were more shocked than not that it was the way it was,” Spruill said. “I don’t think we had a clue at the time how much our organization was changing history that day. I didn’t have the foresight to realize that convention was opening the door for my future daughters and granddaughters.” Coincidentally, Spruill’s future wife, whom he didn’t know at the time, joined FFA a year later. Ada Pirkle Spruill became an FFA member her senior year at Jefferson City High School in the fall of 1970. Ada recalls Albert Logan, the ag teacher/ FFA adviser at her school, recruiting her and other girls who had been active 4-Hers to take a horticulture class and join FFA. “We were very welcome,” Ada remembered. “They were just really good guys. They pretty much liked us being there.”

Carol Spruill Lawrence is the only female to win the Georgia EMC-FFA Wiring Contest. Both her parents, Jack and Adabeth Spruill were FFA members. Now her daughter, Emma, belongs to FFA.

Carol Spruill Lawrence made Georgia FFA history in 1997 when she became the first and only female to win the Georgia EMC-FFA Electrical State Wiring Contest. She said entering seemed normal because her dad, Jack Spruill, won the state event in 1968, and her brother, Robert, won it in 1996. Lawrence became the second female elected as Georgia FFA president in 1997 and the second girl from Georgia elected as a national FFA officer in 1999. Today, Lawrence runs Steadfast Farm, the horse stable she started as her FFA proficiency project. Her husband, Shannon Lawrence, is an ag teacher/FFA adviser at Jackson County High School. They are raising four children to continue the family’s FFA legacy. Their daughter, Emma, attended her first state FFA convention in April. “I’ve been blessed to see FFA from several different sides. The time I spent on stage as an officer was fabulous but so is the time I’ve spent as the spouse of an ag teacher,” Lawrence said. “The time I’ve spent as an FFA mother has been my favorite. It’s neat seeing FFA through my children's eyes.” In addition to Stringfellow and Lawrence, other Georgia females elected as national officers are: Rachael McCall Becker in 2004, Regina Holliday Fitzpatrick in 2008, Kalie Hall Blevins in 2012 and Abbey Gretsch in 2015.

Georgia Farm Bureau News May-June 2019 / 7

Rep. Sanford Bishop, standing, discussed his efforts to get disaster aid passed with GFB 1st Vice President Robert Fountain Jr. and GFB 4th Dist. Director Marvin Ruark.

Disaster aid & farm bill main topics GFB leaders take to Washington, D.C. Articles & Photos by Jay Stone _________________________________________________________________________________

Georgia’s farmers are hurting and need help in terms of federal disaster aid, Georgia Farm Bureau (GFB) leaders told federal lawmakers during the 2019 County Presidents’ Trip to D.C. The group also expressed concerns about implementation of the 2018 farm bill, agricultural labor, international trade and regulatory reform. Almost 100 GFB members and staff took the trip April 30-May 2. “In order to fulfill our mission, we need to go and meet with our legislators, discuss the issues, carry our wishes and let our voices be heard,” GFB President Gerald Long said. “It’s still as true today as it was in 1937. We had great meetings. We’ve got a lot of

GFB members presented Rep. Jody Hice, center, with his Friend of Farm Bureau Award. From left are: Jeanette Berry; GFB Women’s Committee Chairman Nancy Kennedy; Marvin Ruark, Jimmy Kennedy; Bebe Ruark; Charles Berry; Ken Boss; John & Thomas Raley; Linda Crumley; Ross McQueen; Melinda & Kent Walker; Dale Wood & GFB 4th Dist. Director Skeeter McCorkle. More photos at 8 / May-June 2019

issues facing us, but the key thing was the disaster aid.” The annual trip gave GFB members a chance to meet with Georgia’s congressional delegation, featured policy briefings with American Farm Bureau Federation staff members, remarks from Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue and visits to Capitol Hill. GFB members urged their representatives to pass disaster assistance legislation to help Georgia farmers recover from Hurricane Michael, which did about $2.5 billion in damage to Georgia agriculture last October. Many farmers in the storm’s path are struggling, with Michael’s damage compounding the effects of years of low commodity prices. “Sometimes Mother Nature deals you a tough hand, and we had one last year,” Sen. David Perdue told the GFB group. “This is a generational issue. If somebody loses the farm, it’s hard for the next generation to come back and get it back.” Perdue and other members of the Georgia congressional delegation expressed frustration that bills to provide disaster assistance funding have failed to get through Congress. GFB members asked the delegation to monitor the USDA’s implementation of the 2018 farm bill to ensure it is completed appropriately and in a timely manner. Immigration reform as it relates to ag labor was another key topic. GFB members asked Congress to develop a new ag guest worker program or enact reforms to the current H-2A program. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers released a new definition of “Waters of the U.S.” in December and accepted public comments from Feb. 14 to April 15. The GFB group asked members of Congress to evaluate the new rule and its potential impact on Georgia farmers. GFB members also asked representatives to work for a permanent solution on the Department of Transportation’s rules regarding the number of hours drivers can be on the road and the use of electronic devices to track hours driven. Transporters of livestock and insects have a temporary exemption from the rules, but farmers need a permanent solution that balances road safety with the unique needs of ag transportation. Georgia Farm Bureau News

GFB leaders briefed on key ag issues During the Georgia Farm Bureau (GFB) County Presidents’ Trip to D.C., American Farm Bureau Federation (AFBF) staff briefed the GFB group on key topics the national organization is pursuing with the federal government. Issues include: the farm bill, electronic logging device (ELD) requirements to track hours truckers drive, immigration and ag workforce, trade and the Waters of the United States rule. Issue briefing highlights:

Farm bill implementation

The first program producers will be able to sign up for is Dairy Margin Coverage. The USDA released a decision tool on April 30 ( “If you’re a dairy producer you can go in and see some of those coverage options,” AFBF Director of Congressional Relations Andrew Walmsley said. Sign-up for DMC begins June 17. The main difference between the 2018 farm bill enacted in December and the 2014 farm bill is producers won’t have to enroll for the entire five-year span of the bill. Producers may initially choose coverage for two years and yearly after that. Walmsley said sign-up for Agricultural Risk Coverage (ARC) and Price Loss Coverage (PLC) should begin around Sept. 1. Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) enrollment should begin around Dec. 1.


Livestock haulers are the only sector exempt from the ELD mandate from the Department of Transportation. The ELDs are a tool for enforcing DOT’s hours of service rules. The exemption lasts through Sept. 30. Walmsley said one thing AFBF is seeking is a 150-air mile exemption for ag haulers, who would be subject to hours of service rules after traveling beyond a 150air mile radius from the farm.

Immigration & Workforce

AFBF Director of Congressional Relations Allison Crittenden said the issue of migrant farm labor can be broken down into three primary components, addressing people who are already in the U.S., making the current guest worker program less burdensome than the current H-2A system, and reconciling the increasing number of “no match” notifications from the Social Security Administration.


AFBF Senior Director of Congressional Relations Dave Salmonsen explained the process of completing trade agreements, particularly the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA), reached last November. President Trump will send USMCA to the House of Representatives for approval after bargaining with House leadership on what See WASHINGTON page 25

Rep. Austin Scott, left, chats with GFB members during the County Presidents’ Trip to D.C. From left are: Melissa Mathis, Alicia Shirah, GFB 4th Dist. Director Marvin Ruark, Rocky Nobles, Kayla Calhoun, Jill Dozier and Phil Ham.

GFB President Gerald Long presents Sen. David Perdue with the Friend of Farm Bureau Award from American Farm Bureau.

Ga. Congressional delegates receive Friend of Farm Bureau awards

Members of Georgia’s U.S. Congressional Delegation received the Friend of Farm Bureau Award during the 2019 GFB County Presidents’ Trip to Washington, D.C. The American Farm Bureau Federation (AFBF) gives the award at the end of each Congress to lawmakers who are nominated by their state Farm Bureaus. To qualify, members of Congress must vote in agreement with AFBF on at least 70% of selected bills affecting agriculture. “Support from our members of Congress has always been vitally important for the continued success of Georgia farmers,” Georgia Farm Bureau President Gerald Long said. “We’re grateful they support Farm Bureau’s position on key farm issues.” Georgia congressmen who received the award are: Rick Allen (R12th District); Buddy Carter (R-1st District); Doug Collins (R-9th District); Drew Ferguson (R-3rd District) Tom Graves (R-14th District); Jody Hice (R-10th District); Barry Loudermilk (R-11th District); Austin Scott (R-8th District); Rob Woodall (R-7th District) and Sens. Johnny Isakson and David Perdue, both Republicans. In awarding the Friend of Farm Bureau Award, AFBF considered the votes legislators cast on legislation pertaining to trade, regulatory reform, farm policy, immigration reform and more. The AFBF Board of Directors, on which Georgia Farm Bureau President Gerald Long serves, established these priority issues.

Georgia Farm Bureau News May-June 2019 / 9

Pecan Growers:

Pick new varieties when replanting orchards

If there is a silver lining to the devastating impact Hurricane Michael had on Georgia’s pecan producers – an estimated 27,455 pecan acres destroyed – it’s that producers can replant their orchards with new varieties that cost less to grow. This could make Georgia pecan growers more competitive with growers in western states and Mexico. “The hurricane took down a lot of old, big trees. It gives us a chance to replace older trees with newer varieties that have good scab resistance and produce a higher quality pecan,” Lenny Wells, UGA Extension pecan specialist said. “We need to start moving away from some of these old varieties. Even though everyone wants big yields, we need to start focusing on quality.” Avalon, Caddo, Creek, Excel, Lakota, Oconee and Sumner are some of the varieties Wells recommended when speaking

at the Georgia Pecan Growers Association annual meeting in March. “Plant pecan cultivars that have a decent level of scab resistance and betterquality nuts than Stuart or Desirable. You want a tree that produces a percent kernel in the mid 50s or better” Wells said. “We need to stop planting Desirables.” Growers who opt to plant a scab– susceptible pecan variety should choose one that has a short season with an early harvest date like Caddo or Pawnee, Wells said. While the recent trend in planting new pecan orchards has been to plant more trees per acre, Wells cautioned against this practice as it results in increased disease and insect pressure for the trees. “Tighter spacings have the potential to increase early yield for trees but it requires more input costs to produce a crop

Sawyer joins UGA Pecan Team Photo by Jennifer Whittaker

Andrew Sawyer, who most recently served as the Wilcox County Extension coordinator/agent, is joining the UGA pecan team to work with growers in Southeast Georgia. UGA Extension Pecan Specialist Lenny Wells will continue to serve Southwest Georgia growers and work the industry statewide. Sawyer’s position was created to serve the increasing number of pecan growers in Southeast Georgia who plantSawyer ed trees in the past decade. Tattnall County ranked No. 6 in the state for its pecan production in 2017, with 7,500 pecan acres and a pecan farm gate value of $16.1 million, according to the UGA Center for Agribusiness and Economic Development. Other counties in Southeast Georgia with significant pecan production include: Bulloch, Washington, Appling, Candler, Cook, Screven, Telfair and Jefferson. Sawyer, who graduated from UGA with a master’s degree in 2010, previously was an Extension agent in Thomas County. He is originally from Douglas. “I look forward to meeting everyone and being on the UGA Pecan Team,” Sawyer said. The Georgia Pecan Commission (GPC) is co-funding Sawyer’s position with UGA Cooperative Extension, GPC Chairman Lanair Worsham Jr. said.

10 / May-June 2019

Photo courtesy Patrick Conner

By Jennifer Whittaker _____________________________________________________________________________

The Avalon pecan variety, developed by UGA’s Dr. Patrick Conner, has shown good resistance to pecan scab and produces a nut with the size and quality shellers want.

due to increased sprayings needed to control insects and disease and keeping the trees hedged,” Wells said. He recommends planting orchards with tree spacings of 30x50, 40x40, 25x50, 30x60 or 46x46 to give trees adequate sunlight and air flow to reduce disease and insect pressure. “The Mexican pecan crop is probably the biggest problem U.S. pecan growers have right now,” Wells said. Mexican pecan production has risen from 270 million pounds on 278,176 acres in 2015 to nearly 300 million pounds in 2018. Mexican growers are planting about 10,000 new acres each year, Wells said. Production costs in Mexico are about $860/acre compared to about $1,500/acre for Georgia growers. Efforts the U.S. Pecan Growers Council is making to secure new trade markets overseas and promotion campaigns the American Pecan Council is doing to teach U.S. consumers that pecans are a healthy snack nut are crucial for U.S. growers overcoming the competition from Mexico and Chinese tariffs, Wells said. Georgia Farm Bureau News


It’s so meaning“ ful to know that what we’re producing is nourishing our own

local community. Photo courtesy of FRF

– Casey Cox

Flint River Fresh seeks farmers to feed Albany area By Jennifer Whittaker __________________________________________________

Photo courtesy of FRF

ince 2017, Flint River Fresh has been working to help small farmers in the Albany area sell the food they grow directly to consumers and Dougherty County schools. Many of the non-profit’s customers have limited or no access to fresh produce because they don’t live near stores that sell it. Fredando Jackson, “Farmer Fredo” runs the 501(c) (3) organization created by the Flint River Soil & Water Conservation District (FRSWCD). A native of Plains, Jackson has worked in agricultural outreach to low-income communities and in food production for a decade. The FRSWCD recruited Jackson to lead Flint River Fresh (FRF) after receiving a grant to establish an urban agriculture conservation program in Albany. Jackson has been selling eggs and produce grown in South Georgia for FRF through pop-up farm stands and a farm-to-table box program. Now he’s looking to expand the roster of farmers who can supply food for the organization’s customers – schools, restaurants, grocery stores, farmer’s markets, institutions and individuals. Jackson said he needs farmers year-round who produce local, seasonal fruit and vegetables, herbs, meat and artisan goods. “Flint River Fresh expects to pay participating farmers prices comparable to what they would receive at the Atlanta Farmers Market,” Jackson said. FRF currently sells collard greens, turnips, sweet potatoes, butternut squash, sweet corn, green beans, blackberries, satsumas, muscadines and watermelons. Farmers interested in selling to FRF should have their Good Agricultural Practices certification, follow food safety proto-

Fredando Jackson, executive director of Flint River Fresh, is looking for small farmers in Southwest Georgia who grow seasonal fruit and vegetables, herbs or meat. The nonprofit provides market opportunities for farmers by selling food to urban consumers who live in food deserts with limited access to fresh food.

cols and must allow Jackson or other FRF representatives to visit the farm to see its growing area and packing facilities. Jackson is also looking for farms to help FRF teach children how to grow their food. “We are looking for farms where we can bring kids for farm tours and for farmers we can schedule for school visits to meet students during our Harvest of the Month demonstrations,” Jackson said. Ideally, farms that supply food to FRF are located within a 75-mile radius of Albany and are in Georgia. In 2018, FRF sold more than 75,000 pounds of produce from local farmers directly to shoppers in Dougherty, Lee, Mitchell and Sumter counties. Longleaf Ridge Farm in Mitchell County sold sweet corn to FRF in 2018. “Though some of our sweet corn may go to local grocery stores, it is really rewarding knowing there were people in our local community who were able to enjoy our fresh sweet corn through Flint River Fresh’s programs,” said Casey Cox, who farms with her dad, Glenn. “It’s so meaningful to know that what we’re producing is nourishing our own local community. Farmers interested in selling food they grow or hosting school visits should contact Jackson at 229-942-9757 or

Georgia Farm Bureau News May-June 2019 / 11

Photo courtesy of Ga. Dept. of Agriculture

First responders need special skills to manage highway accidents involving livestock. More photos at

First responders trained for livestock highway incidents By Jay Stone ___________________________________________________________________________

Since May 17, 2018, there have been at least four accidents involving tractortrailers hauling cattle in metro Atlanta and an incident on I-16. To equip first responders to handle this type of accident, Georgia Farm Bureau helped sponsor a series of training sessions across Georgia designed to give law enforcement, fire/rescue personnel and highway emergency response teams skills they need to manage accidents involving livestock. About 125 first responders participated in the four Bovine Emergency Response Plan (BERP) training workshops. Extension specialists from across the U.S. and the Georgia Department of Agriculture led the training. The key messages were to emphasize human life over animal welfare and to have an established response plan and team trained to execute it.

Have a plan

“The accident scene is not the place

12 / May-June 2019

to build your team,” said Jerry Yates of West Virginia University Extension. “You never know what you’re rolling up on. Be prepared for anything.” The plan should include a contact sheet of key personnel, including state and local livestock veterinarians, local Extension agents, livestock transporters, livestock producers who can help handle the animals, holding facilities, portable containment equipment, someone trained in proper euthanasia techniques and animal disposal facilities.

Create a calm environment

Trainers emphasized using calming techniques with livestock. First responders arriving at the scene should be aware the animals will be highly stressed. The use of lights, sirens or squawking radio equipment, even reflective surfaces on safety equipment, can further agitate the animals. Verbal interactions with cattle should be done in a calm, soothing voice.

First responders should assess the scene and make sure a containment system is in place before beginning to free animals from the trailer to avoid releasing additional animals onto the roadway.

Care for animals & responders

Dr. Jan Shearer of Iowa State University explained that some animals may have to be put down after accidents, if they sustain irreparable injuries, such as fractures to their legs, hips or spine. He explained the difference between euthanizing and killing animals and discussed euthanasia techniques. “The best we can, we want to try to avoid causing a slow and miserable death,” Shearer said. Once the accident has been cleared, the trainers recommend holding a debriefing session to help responders deal with the mental stress that can come with working the scene. To arrange similar BERP training in your county, contact Jason Duggin at, UGA Veterinarian Dr. Lee Jones at or Courtney Wilson with the Georgia Department of Agriculture at Courtney.Wilson@agr. Georgia Farm Bureau News

Peanut grading redesign progresses By Jennifer Whittaker ___________________________________________________________________

gers, and that’s what we want to get away from. We can hire six hundred people [to run the samples] but I don’t know that we’ll continue to be able to hire the eleven hundred people we need.”

Proposed redesign

After visiting several Georgia buying points to study the existing inspection process, the engineering team is developing a system to measure in-shell peanut moisture and proposes this step be done early in the inspection process. In the proposed new process, peanut samples would be taken pneumatically from the peanut trailer and the moisture content of the in-shell peanuts measured immediately using a microwave-based system. If the moisture level of the peanuts is too high, the trailer of peanuts can be sent for further drying, eliminating the need to do further testing and measurements of the load. If the moisture level of the peanuts is acceptable, then the grading/inspection process would resume by taking an initial weigh with foreign material followed by removal of foreign material, pre-sizer sorting, mechanical shelling, sizing of the peanuts using a mechanical screen shaker, mechanical kernel splitting and

Digital imaging

Georgia Tech engineers are developing the computerized imaging system that will visually grade the peanuts by imaging the peanuts and using advanced image processing algorithms to determine if the peanuts are good or have various stages of defects including burrow bug, discolored skin, discolored meat, rancidity/mold/decay, sprouts or miscellaneous issues. “We have imaged and characterized 19,072 peanuts from across Georgia’s peanut belt, and we’re still imaging peanuts. It’s very important that the system we develop works on all types of peanuts grown in Georgia,” said Colin Usher, a member of the Georgia Tech research team. “The magic of the system is the use of algorithms that give the computer the artificial intelligence to read the images, which is equivalent to humans looking at the peanuts and grading them.” After the computer grades the peanut as good or bad, the peanut will be sorted into the appropriate bin. UGA is working with Tech on perfecting the digital grading and testing.

Photo by Jennifer Whittaker

The redesign of the Georgia FederalState Inspection Service (GAFSIS) peanut inspection/grading process used at buying points is a step closer to completion, project leaders say. Engineers from the Georgia Institute of Technology, USDA Agricultural Research Service (ARS), Lewis M. Carter (LMC) Manufacturing Company and University of Georgia (UGA) have been working to update the GAFSIS grading system since April 2017. The team gave peanut stakeholders an update on their progress during a winter meeting. “Our goal is to have an initial working prototype [of the new system] for the Georgia Federal-State Inspection Service this fall to test it out,” said Dr. Doug Britton, manager of the Georgia Tech Agricultural Technology Research Program. The current grading system, which has changed very little since it was first implemented in the late 1950s, relies heavily on seasonal workers who manually sort and grade the peanuts as they’re brought to buying points from the field. “Our current system is an intensive, hands-on process,” explained GAFSIS President T.E. Moye. “With the current system you have to pick foreign material out of the peanut samples with your fin-

then grading using a computerized imaging system. The USDA ARS team is focusing on developing microwave measurement technology to determine the moisture content and detect foreign materials. LMC engineers are working to improve the efficiency of the pre-sizer, sheller, screen shaker and kernel splitter.

Members of the team working to redesign the peanut grading system the Georgia Federal-State Inspection Service uses are, from left: USDA Agricultural Research Service engineers Dr. Samir Trabelsi, Dr. Micah Lewis & Dr. Sakol Julrat with the prototype of the microwave measurement system they developed; Lewis M. Carter Manufacturing Company engineers Dave Bailey and Mike Woodall with the foreign material removal machine; and Georgia Tech researchers Colin Usher and Dr. Doug Britton with the prototype of the peanut grading imager.

Georgia Farm Bureau News May-June 2019 / 13

Photo by Stephanie Lowery

UGA experts offer tips for managing forage land in wet conditions By Jay Stone __________________________________

Managing pasture/forage land in wet conditions can be a challenge whether it’s used for grazing cattle or hay production.


xtended periods of soggy conditions in late 2018 and early 2019 have caused a myriad of problems for Georgia cattlemen and hay producers. Speakers at the 2019 Georgia Forage Conference offered tips on how to manage drenched forage land. The conference, held April 4 as a part of the Georgia Cattlemen’s Association Convention & Trade Show, featured presentations on effects of excess water, from nutrient loss to weed pressure. UGA Agricultural Climatologist Pam Knox suggested that Georgia weather overall could be warmer and wetter than normal through most of the year and recommended producers pay close attention to weather developments in the tropics. “A lot of the warmer temperatures are going to be night-time temperatures,” Knox said. “That will increase evaporation rates, and if night-time temperature is high and you have animals outside that don’t like the heat, they’re not going to be happy if they can’t cool off at night.”

Reclaim or renovate?

UGA doctoral student Tayler Denman presented a plan for producers to follow to determine whether to perform light maintenance on their pastures or to renovate them entirely. Denman shared the pasture condition scoring system developed by the USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service. The NRCS has a worksheet available to help produc14 / May-June 2019

ers decide what their pastures need at Scores of 3 and above indicate pasture management is needed, Denman said, outlining three steps: Taking soil samples, managing weeds in the pasture, and fertilizing after the weeds are under control. Scores of 1 or 2 indicate the pasture is too damaged to manage and should be renovated. She said this involves taking soil samples, planning the types of forage to plant and destroying the existing stand with herbicides.

Effects of excess water on soil nutrient content

UGA Extension Forage Agronomist Lisa Baxter reviewed the possible effects of excess water on nutrients in soil – runoff, leaching, volatilization, denitrification and acidic rainfall. “The consequences of wet soil conditions really depend on where we are in the state,” Baxter said. “If we’re in the coastal plain, we have really sandy soil and low water-holding capacity and we’re going to have a lot of leaching going on. If we get up into the mountains, we have a lot of steep hill banks, that’s where we start getting into runoff.” Runoff is where flowing water carries away nutrients at or near the top of the soil. Leaching is where excess water moving down through the soil carries nutrients with it. Volatilization is where nutrients are lost to the atmosphere when water triggers their conversion to vapor

or gas form. Denitrification is where nitrates are lost to the atmosphere by the same process. These things happen at varying rates depending on the nutrient mobility. Acidic rainfall isn’t as common in Georgia, though Baxter said if extreme rainfall conditions continue, it can alter the pH balance in the soil, causing it to become acidic over time. Whether it’s nitrogen or potassium, Baxter recommended rationing fertilizer applications over the course of the season rather than putting it out all at once.

Combating weed pressure

UGA Assistant Professor of Crop & Soil Sciences Nick Basinger discussed how wet conditions contribute to weed concerns in forage land. First, he noted the soil always contains a weed seed bank, a collection of seeds that survived from previous years and is waiting for the right conditions to germinate. “The ones that make it through are your weed problem,” Basinger said. ‘They’re the problems you’re dealing with.” He reviewed some key species of weeds that thrive in wet areas, particularly varieties of sedges, foxtail, Japanese stiltgrass and buttercup. Buttercup is especially troublesome in pastures because it is toxic to livestock. To combat weeds, Basinger recommended maintaining strong stands of desired grasses and to avoid overgrazing. Georgia Farm Bureau News

Rhodes, Callaway leading Ga. Ag Expo Foster Rhodes and John Callaway are leading the Georgia Agricultural Exposition Authority (GAEA) as chairman and vice chairman following their election by fellow authority members March 13. The GAEA oversees the Georgia National Fairgrounds & Agricenter in Perry. Their election follows the death of longtime GAEA Chairman Gene Sutherland on March 6. Rhodes, a Houston County Farm Bureau member, has been a GAEA director since the authority’s inception in 1985 and has served as vice chairman Rhodes of the GAEA since 1997. Rhodes is president of Walker Rhodes Tractor Company in Perry. Callaway, a Troup County Farm Bureau director, has served on the GAEA since 2011. He is a past chairman of the Georgia Farm Bureau Beef Committee and a past president of the Georgia Cattlemen’s Association. Other members of the GAEA are Roger Branch, Jerry Davis, John Hulsey, Ann Jones, Emily Watson and Johnny Webb. Callaway

Burgamy new GFB Info/PR director

Kenny Burgamy is now leading the Georgia Farm Bureau Information/Public Relations Department, GFB President Gerald Long announced May 20. Burgamy’s appointment follows the April resignation of former department director Andy Lucas. “I am excited to be working with a great group of professionals in our department,”Burgamy said. “It is a pleasure advocating for the Georgia Farm Bureau brand.” Burgamy, a Macon native, Burgamy joined GFB as a co-anchor and field reporter for the organization’s Farm Monitor television program in 2014. He has been serving as associate director of the department since 2018. He studied mass communications at Macon College and graduated from Atlanta’s Columbia School of Broadcasting. Through the years, Burgamy has worked in various capacities in radio and television broadcasting. Burgamy and his wife, Dawn, have been married for 35 years. The couple has one daughter, Morgan Adams.

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Georgia Farm Bureau News May-June 2019 / 15

Ag program sprouts at Emmanuel College Franklin County ranks fourth among Georgia counties for agricultural production, producing $408.6 million worth of crops and livestock in 2017. That year, Franklin and its four surrounding counties, produced almost $1.7 billion in agricultural products according to the UGA Center for Agribusiness & Economic Development. Given these numbers, it’s understandable why Emmanuel College (EC) – a private, Christian, liberal arts school in Franklin Springs – began a diversified agricultural program in the fall of 2016. Founded in 1919, the four-year college is affiliated with the International Pentecostal Holiness Church. “It was a no-brainer,” said Emmanuel President Dr. Ron White. “We live in the middle of agriculture. We’re rural, not urban. Really, it’s an idea long overdue.” The seeds for the EC ag program were planted in 2013. At the time, Addie Thomason Tucker was dually enrolled at Franklin County High School (FCHS) and EC. She asked her father, Owen Thomason, then the FCHS young farmer instructor, why EC didn’t have an ag program. That October, Owen approached EC Vice President for Advancement Brian James with the idea. James was intrigued, but with no resources to fund such a program, he initially left it alone. The next month, James was talking to frequent donor Marlowe Collins. She told him she planned to leave her family’s farm to Emmanuel when she died, if the school would start an ag program. So, EC began studying the possibility. Thomason was a central figure in helping the school decide if it was feasible and what the program would include. In January 2016, Thomason and his wife, Gina, were seeking God’s will for 16 / May-June 2019

Photo by Jay Stone

By Jay Stone _____________________________________

Emmanuel College agriculture students Kyle Decker & Jessi Bell work in the EC greenhouse as part of a horticulture lab. More photos at

him in retirement. “Brian called me when we were fasting and asked if I’d like to start the ag program at Emmanuel. It was just God’s will. God made all these parts and pieces come together,” Thomason said. In March of 2016, Collins died. Thomason retired from Franklin County High School the end of June. By then, the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS) had accredited Emmanuel’s ag program. Emmanuel began its agriculture classes that fall with 12 students, eight of whom were already enrolled at EC. Student enrollment in Emmanuel’s ag program was up to 39 this spring. Thomason thinks it will surpass 50 students in the 2019-2020 school year. The small college setting – EC has a total enrollment of about 1,000 students – appeals to many students who might not feel as comfortable at a large university. “You get a lot more help from the teachers because the classes are smaller,” said sophomore Jessi Bell. “My first English class was about 30 people. It was about the same size as a high school class, and that’s one of the bigger classes

I’ve been in.” Emmanuel’s ag program offers a bachelor’s degree in diversified agriculture with one of four concentrations – ag business, ag science, ag communications and ag missions. The school is considering adding an ag education degree. The ag program has a greenhouse and pasture that supports small herds of goats, sheep and cattle. A new building with classrooms and labs is being developed using some of the remaining proceeds from Collins’ estate. White said he hopes the school breaks ground on the new facility in the next year. Thomason is the only full-time faculty member in the department. Seven adjunct instructors teach the animal science, ag economics, horticulture and research courses. Emmanuel ag students are eligible to apply for Georgia Farm Bureau Foundation for Agriculture Scholarships. “This really gives the students in our area who want this kind of thing an opportunity. They don’t have to go far away. They can come right here,” White said. “I think it’s caused a lot of great connection between us and the community in general.” Georgia Farm Bureau News

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N.C. lawsuits show need for stronger Right to Farm law odor and noise from trucks entering and leaving the farms.” Although North Carolina has a right-tofarm law, U.S. Judge Earl Britt, who heard the early cases, said the law didn’t give farmers protection against the lawsuit. The cases were heard in federal court since the claims against the farmers were dismissed and the remaining defendant, Murphy-Brown, is part of Smithfield, a national company. While Murphy-Brown is responsible

renaschild/Getty Images

Photo by Jane McCall

massive awards. Curliss praised the support North Nuisance lawsuits brought against Carolina communities and businesses North Carolina hog farmers and their have given hog farmers. integrator in 2018 and 2019 have “County commissions across North highlighted the need for Georgia’s Right Carolina have adopted resolutions to Farm law to be strengthened to prevent supporting farmers and Eastern North similar lawsuits against Georgia farmers. Carolina communities have shown The first five jury trials resulted in support for farms with yard sign juries awarding almost $550 million in campaigns not organized by the North damages to the plaintiffs. North Carolina Carolina Pork Council,” Curliss said. law requires the damages be reduced to Curliss encouraged the ag community about $98 million. The fifth trial to develop a plan to counter the ended in early March. Another 21 attacks wealthy activists are waging cases are waiting to be heard. against animal agriculture through While speaking to members of the use of nuisance lawsuits. Georgia Farm Bureau’s Commodity During the 2019 session of the Advisory Committees earlier this Georgia General Assembly, House year, Andy Curliss, chief executive Agriculture Committee Chairman officer of the North Carolina Pork Tom McCall and Reps. Jon Burns, Council, discussed the motives Robert Dickey, Terry England, Clay driving lawyers and the strategy Pirkle and Sam Watson worked they’ve used to win nuisance lawto strengthen Georgia’s existing suits against four farms that raised right to farm law by eliminating hogs for Murphy-Brown, the hog Pictured from right, GFB Public Policy staffers loopholes that could leave Georfarm segment of Smithfield Foods. Alex Bradford and Blake Raulerson discuss HB 545 gia farmers vulnerable to nuisance Curliss said the lawsuits with Rep. Tom McCall and Georgia Poultry Federation and lawsuits. are being brought to court by Georgia Agribusiness Council representatives. The Georgia House passed experienced trial lawyers who for paying the verdicts, the farms have House Bill 545, but it stalled in the belong to Public Justice, an organization stopped raising hogs to avoid more Senate Rules Committee. The legislation of trial lawyer firms, heavily funded by lawsuits. is eligible for continued consideration in wealthy activists who enlist the lawyers Curliss said the strategy used to win the 2020 session. to represent their causes. the suits is called the Reptile Theory. Georgia Farm Bureau (GFB) and other “This is not local attorneys According to the theory, when a lawyer ag organizations supported HB 545 to representing plaintiffs but experienced presents jurors with a perceived threat, protect farmers’ right to farm. GFB will trial lawyers bringing class action even a small one, their “reptile brain,” continue working to strengthen Georgia’s lawsuits against the profitability of which is responsible for the primitive right to farm bill and encourages its agriculture,” Curliss said. “There is survival instinct for safety and self- members to tell their state legislators, no claim of health issues. There’s no preservation awakens, overpowering especially senators, of the need for claim of property devaluation nor water logic and reason. Reptile Theory protecting Georgia farmers against pollution. It’s an annoyance claim over advocates credit it for jurors granting nuisance lawsuits. By Jennifer Whittaker ____________________________________



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Georgia Farm Bureau News May-June 2019 / 19

Photo by Jennifer Whittaker

During the Evening of Grand Champions Georgia Farm Bureau held for the 2018/2019 Georgia Junior National Livestock Show Grand Champions, GFB President Gerald Long, far right, presented the winners belt buckles for exhibiting the top animal in their respective shows last fall and in February. Pictured from left are: Tay-

lor Barber, Morgan Patterson, Caroline Burke, Tanner Norton, Bailey Rayfield, Chanleigh Underwood, Kylie Whitworth, Cason Gentry and Ben Williams. Visit and www. to see photos of the students showing their animals.

GFB honors Ga. Jr. National Grand Champions By Jennifer Whittaker _____________________________________

For Georgia 4-H and FFA members who’ve grown up showing livestock, winning a grand championship with their animal at the Georgia Junior National Livestock Show is like winning an Olympic medal for a team sport. It takes months to train the animals to calmly walk around the ring, then stand still in the best pose to showcase their muscles and bone structure to win the judge’s favor. When the species competitions at the annual show ended Feb. 23, the following exhibitors went home as grand champions: Commercial Dairy Heifer – Morgan Patterson of Jasper County; Breeding Doe – Kylie Whitworth of Madison County; Market Barrow – Cason Gentry of Houston County; Beef Heifer – Taylor Barber of Decatur County; Market Steer – Bailey Rayfield of Union County; Market Gilt – Chanleigh Underwood of Jeff 20 / May-June 2019

Davis County; and Breeding Ewe - Caroline Grace Burke of Screven County. This is the eighth consecutive year GFB has awarded the cash prizes presented to the grand champions. “My children showed livestock, so I’ve seen firsthand the positives kids can gain from being responsible for an animal. The months these 4-H and FFA members put into preparing their animals to show taught them to have a good work ethic and how to overcome challenges,” GFB President Gerald Long said. “It’s a privilege for Georgia Farm Bureau to sponsor these awards and support all of the shows at the Georgia Junior National Livestock Show as an investment in the future of Georgia agriculture.” On March 29 GFB hosted an Evening of Champions for the students, their families and 4-H agents or FFA advisors. GFB President Gerald Long, Georgia 4-H State Leader Arch Smith, and Georgia Ag Edu-

cation Program Manager Billy Hughes gave congratulatory speeches. Long presented each champion with their prize check, champion belt buckle and a commemorative photo board. Prizes were awarded to the champions in the following amounts: Patterson $1,500; Whitworth $1,000; Gentry $1,500; Barber $2,500; Rayfield $5,000; Underwood $1,500; and Burke $1,000. Tanner Norton of Grady County received $2,500 for winning the Grand Champion Market Doe Award at the 2018 State 4-H & FFA Market Goat Show and the Grand Champion Market Lamb Award at the 2018 State 4-H & FFA Market Lamb Show last October. Ben Williams of Gordon County received $1,500 for winning the Grand Champion Market Wether Award at the 2018 State 4-H & FFA Market Goat Show last October. To read more about the students’ stories, visit Georgia Farm Bureau News

GFB Foundation awards $57,000 to ag scholars

College Freshman Scholarship for Agriculture Five students planning to enter college as freshmen at either Abraham Baldwin Agricultural College (ABAC) or the UGA College of Agricultural & Environmental Sciences (CAES) were awarded scholarships of $3,000 each: Dawson Adams, Coffee County; Kirk Beacham, Colquitt County; Annelies Carr, Gordon County; Levi Martin, Houston County and Will Woodard, Morgan County. These students plan to pursue degrees in ag business, ag engineering, ag education or animal science. An additional seven students were selected to receive scholarships of $1,500: Taylor Barber, Decatur County; Hailey Craig, Henry County; Clifton Edwards, Mitchell County; Parker Garrett, Haber-

sham County; Amber Martinez, Cherokee County; Bryce Roland, Houston County; and Ava Jane Teasley, Newton County. These students plan to attend ABAC or UGA CAES to pursue degrees in animal science/animal health, ag economics, ag education and ag communications. Technical College Scholarship for Ag Shelby Dalton, Banks County; Hunter Moss, Towns County; Jacob Wood, Laurens County; and James Harris Youmans, Candler County were each selected to receive a $1,000 scholarship. Dalton plans to pursue a degree in agriculture at North Georgia Technical College. Moss plans to study welding at North Georgia Technical College. Wood plans to study welding at Oconee Fall Line Technical College. Youmans plans to study ag diesel mechanics at Southeastern Technical College. Rising College JR/SR Scholarships for Ag The foundation awarded 10 scholarships of $2,000 each to these rising college juniors and seniors: Savannah Austin,

Butts County; Savannah Brannen, Screven County; Kylie Bruce, Franklin County; Dalton Green, Walker County; Morgan Hart, Colquitt County; Sadie Hobbs, White County; Sadie Lackey, Gilmer County; Ben Parker, Houston County; Morgan Rowan, Lowndes County; and Rebecca Wallace, North Fulton County. All plan to attend UGA CAES in the fall and are studying animal science, ag education, ag communications or applied biology. UGA College of Veterinary Medicine Scholarship Brooke Helton, White County; Erik Ragan, Catoosa County and Michelle Sheffield, Dodge County were chosen to receive scholarships of $2,500 each as they study to become food animal veterinarians at the UGA College of Veterinary Medicine. Visit to learn more about the GFB Foundation for Agriculture or to make a tax-deductible donation. Instructions for applying for the 2020 scholarships will be announced on the foundation website in the fall.

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A crop of 29 students from across Georgia was selected to receive a total of $57,000 in scholarships from the Georgia Farm Bureau Foundation for Agriculture for the 2019-2020 academic year. The scholarships are awarded to students who have excelled academically and in their extracurricular activities. The selected students must intend to pursue or be pursuing degrees in agriculture, forestry or family and consumer sciences at a school that is part of The University System of Georgia, Berry College, Emmanuel College or any accredited college/university in Georgia with an ag program or a Georgia accredited technical college. “Georgia Farm Bureau is committed to investing in the future of Georgia agriculture, which is why our organization proudly offers scholarships each year to students who want to pursue a career in agriculture,” GFB President Gerald Long said. “We are happy to offer scholarships this year to students who plan to become ag teachers, welders, veterinarians, ag mechanics, ag engineers, ag business employees and ag lawyers.” The scholarships were awarded to graduating high school seniors headed to college or a technical college in the fall, rising college juniors and seniors and students enrolled in the University of Georgia College of Veterinary Medicine who plan to care for farm animals. Recipients are as follows:

Georgia Farm Bureau News May-June 2019 / 21

Georgia agriculture:

Farming by the numbers By Jennifer Whittaker _________________________________________________________________________________


esults of the 2017 U.S. Census of Agriculture are in. According to the numbers USDA released April 11, the biggest change in Georgia agriculture since 2012 has been a shift in the size of farms. Census results show Georgia has 42,439 farms. Of these, 3,540 farms had acreage changes between 2017 and the last census of 2012. Georgia’s number of small (10-179 acres) farms decreased. The number of micro farms (1 to 9 acres) showed a significant increase while mid-size (180-999 acres) and large farms (1,000 acres or more) showed a slight increase. The census, conducted every five years by

acres in 2017. That’s an acreage increase of 3.5% (up 332,894 acres). Georgia’s average farm size increased from 228 acres in 2012 to 235 acres in 2017 up 3.1%. But, put in a historical perspective, the latest census shows Georgia has lost 6,904 farms since the 1997 ag census and 1.35 million acres of land being farmed. Georgia had 49,343 farms in 1997 and 11.26 million acres of land being farmed. To put the census numbers in context, you also need to know the USDA defines a farm as any place from which $1,000 or more of ag products were produced and sold or normally would have been sold in a census year. The national census shows the U.S. had 3.4 million producers in 2017 and 2 million farms. There were 3.18 million producers nationwide in 2012 and 2.1 million farms.

Georgia 2017 census highlights:

the USDA National Agricultural Statistics Service, indicates more Georgians were farming in 2017 than in 2012 when the last ag census was taken. The number of Georgia farms increased from 42,257 in 2012 to 42,439 in 2017. That’s an increase of 182 farms. Acres of land being farmed in Georgia increased from 9.6 million acres in 2012 to 9.95 million

• 68,087 – producers associated with Georgia’s farms, up from 61,053. The ‘17 census let farms report up to 5 producers/farm. • $9.6 billion – market value of products Georgia farms sold, up from $9.3 billion in 2012 & $5.2 billion in 1997. • #1 – Georgia’s U.S. ranking for poultry & egg market value. Georgia produced 11% of U.S. poultry products. • 66% male, 34% female – gender of Georgia’s farmers.

The Average Georgia Farm, 2012 and 2017 Land in Farm Sales Production Expenses Age 22 / May-June 2019

2012 2017 228 acres 235 acres $219,020 $225,577 $177,213 $167,609 57.7 57.9

• 57.9 years - average age of Georgia farmers, up from 57.7 • 5,721 – number of Georgia’s farmers 35 or younger. • #2 – Georgia’s U.S. ranking for producers farming 10 years or less • 122 - Georgia farms that are USDA Certified Organic.

Shift in farm size

The 2017 census shows Georgia farms 1 to 9 acres in size grew in number from 3,003 in 2012 to 4,520 in 2017. That’s an increase of 1,490 farms in this category. Farms between 10 to 49 acres dropped by 390 farms from 13,830 in 2012 to 13,440 in 2017. The largest decrease in farm size occurred in the 50 to 179-acre range with this category plunging from 14,670 farms in 2012 to 13,480 farms in 2017 for a total decrease of 1,190 farms. Farms between 180 to 499 acres increased by 180 from 6,330 in 2012 to 6,510 in 2017, but farms between 500 to 999 acres decreased by 50 from 2,280 in 2012 to 2,230 in 2017. Farms 1,000 acres or more increased by 150 farms from 2,110 in 2012 to 2,260 in 2017.

Farmers by gender

In Georgia, 66% of 68,087 farmers are male (44,839) and 34% are female (23,248). The number of female farmers in Georgia increased 30.8% in the past five years. Nationwide, 64% of all farmers are male while 36% are female. The increase in Georgia female farmers is because the census questionnaire changed the way demographic questions were asked Jaqueline Moore, deputy director of the Southern Region NASS office said. Farms were allowed to report multiple producers and most of the newly reported producers were female. If you’re wondering how the ratio plays out in Georgia’s young producers (age 35 years or less), it’s almost identical to the overall population. Among Georgia farmers age 35 years & younger 65% are male (3,717) and 35% (2,004) are female. The average age of Georgia’s female farmers is 57.1 years and the average age of male farmers is 58.3 years. Georgia Farm Bureau News

13.83 13.44

2012 2017

14.67 13.48

Number of Farms, by Size Category, 2012 and 2017 (thousands) 6.33 6.51

4.52 3.03

2.28 2.23

1.38 1.50

0.73 0.76

1 to 9 10 to 49 50 to 179 180 to 499 500 to 999 1,000 to 1,999 2,000 acres acres acres acres acres acres acres or more Farmers by age

The average age of Georgia farmers saw the slightest of increases from 2012 to 2017 as it went from 57.7 years to 57.9 years. The average age of the U.S. farmer is 57.5 years. Georgia had 5,721 farmers under the age of 35 in 2017. The average age of these farmers was 29.5 years. This age group made up 8.4% of Georgia’s farm population. This age group comprises 9.4% of the U.S. farm population. This age category is engaged predominately in beef/hay farming, poultry farming or fruit/ nut farming and 84% of the young farmers have been farming less than 10 years.

New farmers are middle aged

Georgia ranked second in the U.S. behind Alaska for having the largest percentage (33%) of producers who are considered new and beginning farmers. One might assume this refers to young farmers, but the 2017 census shows this isn’t the case. The USDA uses this term to refer to producers who have farmed 10 years or less. Georgia has 22,743 farmers in this category. Their average age is 48.6 years. They farm on 14,786 farms in Georgia and the average size of their farms is 161 acres. This category of farmers produced a total of $2.3 billion in sales in 2017 of which $746 million came from crops and $1.6 billion came from livestock. The average total value of commodities that these farms produce is $155,690. It’s worth noting that 2,199 of these farmers had military service.

Farmers by ethnicity

While 64,574 of Georgia’s farmers are Caucasian, the ethnic makeup of Georgia’s pro-

ducers is more diverse than expected. There are 2,870 African American producers; 922 Hispanic producers; 524 American Indian producers; 494 Asian producers and 43 Native Hawaiian or Pacific Islander producers. The number of farms associated with each ethnicity is as follows: White- 40,284; African American: 2,055; Hispanic – 804; American Indian: 446; Asian: 326 and Native Hawaiian: 38.

Organic farms

Georgia’s number of USDA Certified Organic farms increased by 35.6% from 90 in 2012 to 122 in 2017. These farms sold a total of $29.9 million in products in 2017 up from $5.7 million in 2012. In 2017, 53 of the farms reported sales up to $4,999 on the low end and 44 farms reported sales of $50,000 or more. Henry, Appling, Troup, Barrow, Tattnall and Union counties had the largest numbers of certified organic farms. There are 273 producers associated with the 122 organic farms. Of these, 170 are male and 103 are female. The average age of Georgia’s organic farmer is 52 years. Thirty-four of the producers have military service and 169 producers have been farming 10 years or less.

Market value of commodities

The market value of ag products sold by Georgia farms in 2017 was $9.6 billion, up from $9.3 billion in 2012 and $5.2 billion in 1997. The state ranking of Georgia commodities ranked by sales value are as follows: #1 – Poultry & Eggs----------------------------------Georgia’s 5,271 poultry & egg farms also ranked #1 in U.S. for sales of $5.4 billion, which was 57.3% of Georgia’s total ag sales.

#2 – Hay & Peanuts---------------------------------The census combines these crops. A total of 10,691 Georgia farms reported sales of $847 million for these crops. 2,838 farms grew peanuts. #3 – Cotton/Cottonseed--------------------------Georgia’s 2,550 cotton farms had sales totaling $776 million. #4 – Vegetables, Melons, Potatoes----------The 1,899 Georgia farms growing these crops & sweet potatoes had sales totaling $566 million. #5 – Fruits, Pecans & Berries-------------------The 3,865 Georgia farms growing these crops had a sales value of $422 million. #6 - Cattle-----------------------------------------------In 2017, 13,234 Georgia farms sold cattle/calves with a sales value of $362 million. An additional 4,153 farms had cattle but didn’t sell them. #7 – Dairy------------------------------------------------Milk from Georgia’s 243 dairy farms had a sales value of $331 million. #8 – Greenhouse & Sod---------------------------The 933 Georgia farms growing trees, shrubs, perennial plants, flowers or sod had $322 million in sales. #9 – Grains & Soybeans---------------------------The 3,013 Georgia farms growing grains (corn, wheat. oats, sorghum, barley) soybeans, dry beans & dry peas produced $283 million in sales. #10 – Pigs------------------------------------------------Georgia’s 811 farms raising pigs had $53 million in sales. The first Census of Agriculture was conducted in 1840. Data is available for national, state and county levels. For Georgia 2017 Census of Agriculture data, visit www.nass. For U.S. census data visit www.

Georgia Farm Bureau News May-June 2019 / 23

Bruce wins AFBF Collegiate Discussion Meet Below is part of an interview the GFB News did with Kylie about her historic win. What inspired you to compete in the GFB Discussion Meet? I was very involved in FFA in middle and high school, so when I got to college, I searched for organizations to invest my time in. My local Farm Bureau office asked if I would be interested in participating and I agreed. This sparked my involvement in YF&R and it has been increasing steadily since! Photo courtesy AFBF

How many years did you participate in the GFB Discussion Meet? 2017 & 2018 Kylie Bruce competes in the 2019 American Farm Bureau Collegiate Discussion Meet held in March.

By Jennifer Whittaker _________________________________________________________


ranklin County Farm Bureau member Kylie Bruce bested 34 other competitors to win the American Farm Bureau Federation Young Farmers & Ranchers Collegiate Discussion Meet March 17. Bruce made history by being the first Georgia Farm Bureau member to win the event. The competition was held at the AFBF Fusion Conference in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. As the national winner, Bruce received a $3,000 scholarship from the CHS Foundation, which sponsored the event. GFB awarded her a matching $3,000 scholarship. Bruce qualified for the national competition by being the top collegiate finisher in the 2018 GFB Young Farmers & Ranchers Discussion Meet at the GFB YF&R Leadership Conference. The discussion meet is designed to replicate a committee meeting during which contestants are judged on their ability to exchange ideas and information on various ag topics as they offer solutions to situations Farm Bureau or the ag community are facing. On May 9, Bruce graduated from ABAC with an associate of science degree. She is transferring to the UGA College of Agricultural & Environmental Sciences in August to pursue a double major in ag education and poultry science. She is the daughter of Mike and Teresa Bruce.

GFB creates online forum for farmers

24 / May-June 2019

How did you prepare for the AFBF Collegiate Meet? Growing up in agriculture was the main thing that prepared me to compete in the discussion meet. I believe passion is KEY in this competition. You can memorize facts but being able to share real life experiences that relate to the topics being discussed adds an element that is matched by none other. Of course, I did research and had a staggering number of facts and real-life examples for each topic. I asked many of my ag friends about their opinions on the topics, and this gave me another point of view to discuss from. I also prepared and memorized my opening and closing statements. What type of farm did you grow up on? I grew up on a 4th-generation poultry farm. We have four broiler houses, beef cows, two dogs, and a huge goldfish. I showed hogs for 12 years. What would you say to encourage other college students to compete in the GFB YF&R Discussion Meet to advance to the AFBF Collegiate Meet? DO IT. Not only to increase your ag knowledge, but simply to network with others in agriculture. I have met so many people with so many different experiences. It has grown my knowledge of agriculture as well as given me ideas for what I want to pursue as a career. I am partial to working in the poultry industry but no matter what commodity I work with, my goal is to be an advocate for agriculture as a whole.

The Georgia Farmer’s Forum message board is up and running. Georgia Farm Bureau developed the online site to give GFB farmer members a place to post important information, ask questions, buy, sell or trade, receive updates or alerts on ag topics. This private forum requires a GFB membership in order to register. To register, visit To join Georgia Farm Bureau visit

Georgia Farm Bureau News

Photo by Sidney Middlebrooks

YF&R program goes to Washington, D.C. global perspective on agriculture by visiting the Australian Embassy. The Land & Leadership Advocates left D.C. to visit Virginia farms growing cattle, sod and hydroponic lettuce and a former dairy that has been converted to a brewery and event space. Visit to see more photos from the trip.

Photo by Erin Nessmith

Georgia Farm Bureau took a group of 30 Young Farmers & Ranchers and 11 Land & Leadership Advocates to Washington, D.C., March 5-8. Before the GFB group headed to Capitol Hill, American Farm Bureau lobbyists met with it to provide talking points on ag issues and tips for meeting with congressmen or their staff. The YF&R group gained a

Nave wins Ga. FFA event sponsored by GFB YF&R LaFayette High School FFA member Preston Nave, second from left, bested 11 other competitors to win the state FFA Discussion Meet Career Development Event held April 26 at the 91st Annual Georgia FFA Convention in Macon. The three finalists were, from left: Matthew Peaster, Perry High School; Claire Coleman, Morgan County High School; and Cedric Montgomery, Lowndes County High School. The Georgia Farm Bureau Young Farmers & Ranchers Committee sponsored the event awarding all 12 competitors a total of $1,150. Nave received a $250 prize. Each of the finalists received $100. All 12 FFA area winners each received $50. The FFA Discussion Meet is modeled after Farm Bureau’s YF&R competition and is designed to teach contestants the three fundamental basics of discussion: constructive criticism, cooperation and communication. Contestants are instructed to exchange ideas and information to solve a problem. Other area winners were: Tyler Westbrook, Pickens County; Isabel Browning, Hall County; Avery Cook, Upson County; Phillip Babin, Effingham County; Jessi Strickland, Burke County; Harmon Smith, Irwin County; Gracie Lovett, Ben Hill County; and Cole Powell, Liberty County.

WASHINGTON from page 9 adjustments can and should be made. Salmonsen said the USMCA makes updates to the North American Free Trade Agreement. “Agriculture got a little more access. Canada increased their quotas on dairy and poultry. We kept everything we had before. We didn’t get everything we asked for.” There are concerns USMCA will negatively impact Georgia fruit and vegetable growers. Salmonsen said there is hope China will resume buying U.S. ag products, though it will likely involve lifting tariffs. Tariffs are also an issue in trade with Japan, where duties on U.S. farm products are higher than the same products from other countries. U.S. beef, for example, is subject to a 39% tariff, while beef from Canada and Mexico is subject to tariffs less than 30%.

Waters of the U.S. rule

AFBF Senior Director of Regulatory Relations Don Parrish praised the agriculture community for submitting comments on the new Waters of the U.S. (WOTUS) Rule, Feb. 14 to April 15, when public comments were accepted. About 40% of the comments came from agricultural stakeholders. “I think this rule does a lot,” said Parrish. “It provides some clarity. It’s probably going to take them no more than a year to work through the comments and finalize a rule that is even better than what is proposed.”

Georgia Farm Bureau News May-June 2019 / 25

around georgia news from county farm bureaus Compiled by Jennifer Whittaker

More county Farm Bureau activities are featured on the Friends of Georgia Farm Bureau Facebook group page at Join the group to get county news as it happens!

ATKINSON COUNTY------------------------------- Atkinson County Farm Bureau is a longtime supporter of its local 4-H & FFA programs. ACFB President William White, center, presented a $500 donation on behalf of the county Farm Bureau to leaders of each program. Atkinson County Extension Coordinator Tony Barnes, far left, & Atkinson County 4-H Educator Victoria Corbin, back row, right, accepted the 4-H donation. Accepting the FFA donation were: FFA Advisor Amanda Wooditch, second from left, and FFA students, front row, from left, Joy Horton, JaeLyn James, Angel Russ, & Harley Sirmans. BARROW AND CLARKE COUNTIES----------------- The Barrow and Clarke County Farm Bureaus teamed up to teach more than 800 students at Statham Elementary School that real milk comes from cows and about the many dairy products made from milk. While hosting the dairy booth at the school’s Farm Day, BCFB Office Manager Staci Waters, CCFB Office Manager Katy Seagraves and GFB 4th Dist. Field Rep. Josh McMillian, discussed how many gallons of milk a cow can produce in a day, that farmers milk their cows at least twice a day and how farmers care for their herd. Waters, Seagraves and McMillan showed the students how to make butter and let the students sample it on crackers. CRISP COUNTY------------------------------------- About 80 Crisp County Primary School students have a better understanding of what it takes to make a seed grow thanks to a visit from Crisp County Farm Bureau during Georgia Ag Awareness Week! Pictured from left, CCFB Women’s Committee Chairman Gynelle Williford, Office Manager Dawn Spradley and volunteer Kelly Childers taught 26 / May-June 2019

Crisp County

second and third graders how sunlight, water and soil work together to help seeds sprout. The students put the facts they learned into practice by making Living Necklaces that consist of lima bean seeds placed in a moist cotton ball in a clear plastic bag. The bags provide a greenhouse environment for the seeds, letting the students see the process of a seed sprouting. FRANKLIN COUNTY-------------------------------- Franklin County Farm Bureau celebrated National Agriculture Week, March 10-16, and Georgia Agriculture Awareness Week, March 18-22, by partnering with the three elementary schools in the county to reach 750 students. FCFB Women’s Committee Chairman Heather Cabe prepared and distributed ag packets to 43 teachers at the three schools for the teachers to use with their students for five days on either week. Heather and other members of the county’s ag community visited the schools to present an assembly program about different aspects of local agriculture. During his part of the program, FCFB Director Will Cabe gave a show & tell presentation with a variety of tools he uses on his farm to raise cattle, poultry, goats and hay. One lucky student got to experience a simulated calf delivery by putting on plastic gloves and placing chains on Heather’s arms to see the strength needed to pull a calf. GILMER COUNTY----------------------------------- Gilmer County Farm Bureau participated in the Gilmer County FFA Ag Day for local elementary students by hosting a booth highlighting the county’s apple orchards. Pictured Georgia Farm Bureau News

from left, GCFB Office Manager Candra Frady, GCFB President Darrell Jones and Agency Manager Lequida Hawkins handed out Gold Rush apples from R&A Orchards to more than 300 students. GCFB gave all of the teachers Ag gift bags containing resources to teach their classes about agriculture. JONES COUNTY------------------------------------ The Jones County Farm Bureau Young Farmers & Ranchers Committee organized a Farm Day at Gray Elementary School April 5 for the kindergarteners and first–graders. JCFB partnered with Jones County Extension to host the event. Students rotated through six different stations to learn about dairy and beef cows, chickens, horses, soil sampling & planting seeds. JCFB Women’s Committee Chairman Teresa Chambers, who is a dairy farmer, told the students how she and her husband, Judd, raise calves and milk cows. JCFB YF&R Committee Chairman Brennan Jackson talked to the students about horses. JCFB YF&R Co-Chairman Michael Abney taught the students about soil sampling.

McINTOSH COUNTY------------------------------- McIntosh Farm Bureau celebrated Arbor Day by partnering with the Georgia Forestry Commission and McIntosh 4-H program to plant three trees near the playground of the new local elementary school. MCFB Office Manager Michelle Brigman, second from left, participated in the tree planting ceremony. MCFB also celebrated Read Across America Day by reading “Ten Apples Up on Top,” to a class of elementary students and discussing how farmers grow apples. MCFB treated the students to homemade candy apples.

MITCHELL COUNTY----------------------------------- Mitchell County Farm Bureau celebrated Georgia agriculture with two events in March. MCFB partnered with the Mitchell County Extension Office to hold an Ag Day for all 385 third graders in the county. MCFB Office Manager Wanda Faircloth, left, and MCFB Women’s Committee Chairman Barbara Johnson talked to the students about how farmers raise cattle and products that come from cattle besides meat. MCFB partnered with the local Extension office, Chamber of Commerce, Development authority and Main Street Camilla to host a Farmer Appreciation luncheon attended by about 150 farmers. TAYLOR COUNTY-------------------------------------- Taylor County Farm Bureau did an Ag in the Classroom lesson on cotton with a second-grade class at the local elementary school to celebrate National Agriculture Week. Office Manager Sherry Huggins read the book, “Where Did My Clothes Come From?” to start the lesson about different types of fabrics used for clothes. Since Georgia is ranked second in the U.S. for cotton production, she used the cotton resource kit available from the Georgia Cotton Commission to highlight cotton. TCFB provided each student with one of the cotton AG Mags published by Georgia Farm Bureau. SOUTH FULTON COUNTY----------------------------- To celebrate National Agriculture Week, South Fulton County Farm Bureau’s Geri Childress visited the kindergarten class at Landmark Christian School to read the Dr. Seuss Book “A Cow Can Moo, Can You?” The book covered milking cows, feeding chickens, cutting hay and harvesting vegetables giving Childress a chance to talk about multiple aspects of farming with the students. She also read the Dr. Seuss Book “Farm Animals.” SFCFB donated both books to the class along with ag bookmarks.

Georgia Farm Bureau News May-June 2019 / 27

Lynn wins GFB Essay Contest Thanks to Georgia Farm Bureau’s Middle School Essay Contest, almost 1,280 students statewide pondered the question, “What would happen if there were no farmers or ranchers?” “The Georgia Farm Bureau Middle School Essay Contest gives students a chance to learn about Georgia agriculture as they develop their writing and research skills,” said GFB Women’s Leadership Committee Chairman Nancy Kennedy. The 70 county Farm Bureaus that held local contests submitted their top winners to GFB from which 10 district winners were chosen. The contest was open to all sixth through eighth graders this past school year. Long County student Carlee Lynn won the state prize of $150 and an additional $100 for being the GFB 7th District winner. Lynn was a sixth-grader at Long County Middle School when she wrote her winning essay. Other district essay winners were: Julie Hermann, Pickens County, GFB 1st Dist.; Emma Lawrence, Jackson County, GFB 2nd Dist.; Venya Gunjal, Cobb County, GFB 3rd Dist.; Phillip Villagorda, Wilkes County, GFB 4th Dist.; Jake Pope, Jasper County, GFB 5th Dist.; Addy Collins, Treutlen County, GFB 6th Dist.; Will Fore, Wilcox County, GFB 8th Dist.; Emily Womble, Grady County, GFB 9th Dist.; Gabe Brownell, Lanier County, GFB 10th Dist. Each of these students won a $100 prize. While writing their essays, students were encouraged to explore the many products, such as medicines, clothes, books, and cosmetics, made from raw materials that come from farms. Students also learned about the jobs and economic contributions agriculture provides to their local and state economies. Essays were judged on clarity of thought and writing skill. To read the other district winners’ essays visit 28 / May-June 2019

No Farmers, No Ranchers, No Good ––– By Carlee Lynn ––– What would happen if there were no farmers or ranchers? The most obvious answer would be no food to eat. Food does not come from the grocery store shelves automatically. Farmers and ranchers grow the world’s food supply. There is more than just food provided by farmers and ranchers. Numerous important products are produced from agriculture products every day. Farmers and ranchers also provide jobs for many people. Agriculture is important to everyone living on this planet. Our food supply comes from farmers and ranchers, not the grocery store. It is easy to not think of farmers and ranchers when buying groceries because our lives are very busy. The fact is today, the average farmer feeds about 155 people (AFBF Farm Facts, 2016). Consumers should stop and think about where their food comes from. Not only does the farmer and rancher feed our nation, but they also help supply food to other countries. A good example of this fact would be U.S. farmers produce about 40 percent of the world’s corn (AFBF Farm Facts, 2016). Every farmer or rancher needs help to care for their herds or crops. Farmers and ranchers put a lot of people to work to help them produce food and goods. In 2017, 21.6 million full- and part-time jobs were related to the agricultural and food sectors-11.0 percent of total U.S. employment (Ag & Food Sectors and the Economy, 2018). Farmers and ranchers make a major impact on our nation’s economy in both food supply and employment. Not only do farmers and ranchers directly affect the agriculture industry, in 2016, the U.S. food and beverage manufacturing sector employed more than 1.5 million people, or just over 1 percent of all U.S. nonfarm employment (Ag and Food Sectors and the Economy, 2018). Agriculture is not just a rural American job. Not only do farmers and ranchers provide food and jobs to our nation, their products are part of our everyday lives. Most people realize agricultural products such as milk, meat (chicken, beef, pork), and vegetables come from farmers and ranchers. Most people do not realize other products such as biofuel, medicine, sweeteners for drinks, and soy/wheat byproducts come from farmers and ranchers (Top 9 Major Agricultural Products, 2015). We are surrounded by agriculture products every day. Other products produced by farmers and ranchers include clothing, crayons, bioplastics, and toothpaste. Agriculture products are all over the world and used every day. What would happen if there were no farmers or ranchers? The answer to that question is obvious. The world would be a sad and hungry place. No food for people to eat, no clothes for people to wear, and many people unemployed would be the result or no farmers or ranchers in this world. The agricultural industry is important for everyone regardless of where you live. Farmers and ranchers support the American way of life and help with clothing and feeding the rest of the world.

Georgia Farm Bureau News

Manuel Rodriguez of Elbert County won the GFB Art Contest with this sketch.

Drawing by Matt Bryson of Gordon County, a state runner-up.

Art students illustrate Georgia agriculture Some 671 high school students across the state illustrated the beauty of Georgia agriculture as they created entries for the 25th Annual Georgia Farm Bureau High School Art Contest. The 69 county Farm Bureaus that held local contests submitted their top winners to GFB from which 10 district winners were chosen. “Georgia Farm Bureau’s High School Art Contest encourages students to consider farming as a subject for their art projects and motivates them to learn about the variety of crops and livestock Georgia farmers raise as they do research for their drawings,” said GFB Women’s Leadership Committee Chairman Nancy Kennedy.

Visit to see the artwork of the district winners. Contestants were instructed to create a black, white and gray drawing using graphite, charcoal, pastel, chalk, colored pencil, ballpoint pen or mixed media appropriate for printing. Drawings were judged on how well the artwork represents modern agriculture in the student’s county or Georgia and artistic merit. The winning artwork from each district will be featured in GFB’s 2020 Ag in the Classroom calendar along with the drawings of Alicia Mazzurra, Cherokee County, and Brendalyn Welch, Rabun County, who were selected as honorable mention winners.

Top winners of the art contest were: State winner

GFB 2nd Dist. Manuel Rodriguez $250 prize & $100 district prize

State runner-ups

GFB 1st Dist. Matt Bryson GFB 7th Dist. Raven Carpenter $150 prize each & $100 district prize

Drawing by Raven Carpenter of Evans County, a state runner-up.

Elbert County

Gordon County Evans County

Other district winners in the art contest were: GFB 3rd Dist. Erika Nash South Fulton County GFB 4th Dist. Aniela Elorza Barrow County GFB 5th Dist. Abbi Underwood Crawford County GFB 6th Dist. Abbi McCarthy Jeff Davis County GFB 8th Dist. Lauren Booth Houston County GFB 9th Dist. Jack Green Early County GFB 10th Dist. Brianna Lindsey Brantley County Each district winner received a $100 prize.

Georgia Farm Bureau News May-June 2019 / 29




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GFB Foundation & Georgia EMC donate books








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This spring the Georgia Farm Bureau (GFB) Foundation for Agriculture and the Georgia Electric Membership Corporation (EMC) teamed up to promote agricultural literacy by donating copies of the children’s book “Right This Very Minute” to the more than 400 libraries in the Georgia Public Library Service (GPLS). Each county Farm Bureau received enough copies of the book to present to every public library in the county on behalf of GFB Foundation and Georgia EMC. The book, by Lisl H. Detlefsen, introduces readers to the farmers Catoosa County Farm Bureau Women’s who grow the food we eat while Committee Chairman Andrea Sims presentproviding a glimpse at how farmers ed a copy of “Right This Very Minute” to Catoosa produce various foods like peanuts, County Library Director Richard Groves. milk, beef, strawberries vegetables, cranberries, and wheat. The American Farm Bureau Foundation for Agriculture selected the book as its 2019 Book of the Year for its accurate and positive portrayal of agriculture.


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Discover Ga. agriculture! The Georgia Farm Bureau Certified Farm Market program invites you to pick up one of its 2019 Farm Passports and visit some of the almost 70 GFB Certified Farm Markets across Georgia. These markets sell a variety of fresh fruits, vegetables and meat raised on the farms. Many of the markets offer the chance to pick your own produce. Some have petting zoos or corn mazes. Passports are available at the markets and county Farm Bureau offices. Get your passport stamped at each market you visit. Stamps can be collected until Dec. 31, 2019. Visit for complete details and to find a participating farm near you. PRIZES • 5 stamps – CFM t-shirt


• 10 stamps – insulated tumbler



• 15 stamps – a $15 gift certificate

Educational Leadership Conference

GFB hosted its annual Educational Leadership Conference in April to equip county volunteers and staff to educate students and consumers about agriculture. Getting to meet author Lisl Detlefsen, seated, author of “Right This Very Minute” was a conference highlight. Visit to read more about the conference or to see photos.

30 / May-June 2019

20 stamps – a farm tour with a Farm to Table meal

Person with the most stamps wins an RTIC cooler and an interview on The Farm Monitor TV show about their passport adventure!

to explore portunity t fresh! The best op al and ea support loc Georgia,

Georgia Farm Bureau News

BUT STRONG. Following the disbursal of relief funds, Georgia Farm Bureau gratefully thanks the many sponsors who donated to the Hurricane Michael Relief Fund for farmers. For a complete list of donors, please visit GFB.Ag/HurricaneReliefDonors.


For your reforestation seedlings, call:

Bell Brothers, Inc. Ray D’Alessio

Kenny Burgamy

Advance Cycle Bareroot Seedlings Office:



Georgia Farm Bureau News May-June 2019 / 31

Grassroots Support. Homegrown Savings. By insuring with Georgia Farm Bureau, you are supporting farmers and ensuring that our growing world has a safe and abundant food supply.

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