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May 16, 2018

Vol. 36 No. 10

GFB ART & ESSAY CONTEST WINNERS CREATIVELY EXPLORE GA AG Georgia Farm Bureau (GFB) is proud to announce the district and state winners of its annual art and essay contests. Taylor Baxley of Cobb County won the annual GFB High School Art Contest while Sara Cate Fennell of Emanuel County won the GFB Middle School Essay Contest. “The Georgia Farm Bureau High School Art and Middle School Essay Contests are designed to help students increase their awareness of Georgia agriculture as they design artwork or as they work on their writing and research skills,” said GFB Women’s Leadership Committee Chairman Carol McQueen. “The state and district winners in both contests are to be commended because we had many talented artists and skilled writers submit entries this year.” Baxley, a senior at Kennesaw Mountain High Winning art contest entry by School, won $250 as the state winner of the art contest Taylor Baxley of Cobb County. and $100 as the GFB 3rd District winner. Open to any high school student, the art contest attracted 54 entries statewide. The drawings were judged on artistic merit and how well the artwork represented agriculture in their county or Georgia. Manuel Rodriguez of Elbert County, GFB 2nd District, and Hayoung Lee of Barrow County, GFB 4th District, were the state runners-up in the GFB art contest. Rodriguez and Lee each won $150 as the state runners-up and $100 for being district winners. Other district winners in the art contest were: Franky Carroll, Cherokee County, GFB 1st District; Jaylee Quick, Upson County, GFB 5th District; Eve Pike, Laurens County, GFB 6th District; Logan Harvey, Toombs County, GFB 7th District; Landon Ledford, Wilcox County, GFB 8th District; Gerald Corker, Grady County, GFB 9th District; and Emily Pridgen, Coffee County, GFB 10th District. Each district art contest winner received $100. Visit to view the winning drawings. The winning artwork from each district will be featured in GFB’s 2019 Ag in the Classroom calendar along with two other contest entries -continued on next page

GFB News Alert page 2 of 10 Continued from previous page selected by the judges. “What are the benefits of school gardens?” was the topic the 56 middle schoolers who entered the essay contest addressed in their essays. Participating students were instructed to explore how school gardens teach about the fruits and vegetables Georgia farmers grow. Students were encouraged to write about their personal experience with a school garden, how they would like to expand their school’s existing school garden or why they hope their school starts a garden. In addition to Fennell from the GFB 7th District, other district winners in the essay contest were: Gracie Frazier, Catoosa County, GFB 1st District; Troy Loggins, Banks County, GFB 2nd District; Allison Young, Paulding County, GFB 3rd District; Rylee Foster, McDuffie County, GFB 4th District; Bailey Reeves, Pike County, GFB 5th District; Noel Wiggins, Johnson County, GFB 6th District; Syruis Zhang, Sumter County, GFB 8th District; Grant Johnson, Dougherty County, GFB 9th District; and London O’Steen, Coffee County, GFB 10th District. Essays were judged on clarity of thought and writing skill. To read the state and district winning essays visit . Visit for more information about GFB’s Ag in the Classroom program. GFB URGES GEORGIA DELEGATION TO SUPPORT HOUSE FARM BILL On May 14, Georgia Farm Bureau President Gerald Long wrote to members of the Georgia congressional delegation expressing support for H.R. 2, the Agriculture and Nutrition Act of 2018. Long noted that with commodity prices nearing historic lows and ongoing concerns about the direction of U.S. trade policy, farmers in Georgia and across the nation stand to benefit from the long-term certainty that H.R. 2 would provide. “While we recognize that it is still in the early stages of the legislative process and that members on both sides of the aisle have concerns with certain sections, GFB is pleased with the farm policy provisions in H.R. 2, and would like to see the bill move forward,” Long wrote, stressing to congressmen that Georgia is among the nation's top producers of cotton and peanuts, and that the language in H.R. 2 related to Title I commodity programs, marketing loans, crop insurance, and more, would be of great benefit to many Georgia farmers and rural communities. Long also voiced support for H.R. 2’s proposed changes to the Dairy Margin Protection Program and the inclusion of language related to regulatory reform, rural development, trade, and agricultural research, all of which are priorities for GFB members. Long asked members of Congress to support H.R. 2 when it comes up for a vote on the House floor, which could happen this week. He also asked members to oppose amendments that would undermine America's agriculture safety net, including those that would damage the crop insurance program or limit the effectiveness of commodity support programs. GFB also signed onto a May 9 letter with more than 300 other agricultural organizations asking members of Congress to oppose amendments that would harm farm and ranch families, including amendments that would gut crop insurance programs and impose unworkable payment limits.

GFB News Alert page 3 of 10 HOUSE APPROPRIATIONS SUBCOMMITTEE APPROVES AG SPENDING BILL On May 9 the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Agriculture, Rural Development, Food and Drug Administration and Related Agencies approved its FY 2019 spending bill. “This bill is a vital component of our agricultural landscape and nutritional safety net,” said Subcommittee Ranking Member Sanford Bishop (D-Ga.). “It provides the resources needed to ensure our food products and prescription drugs are safe, and is the primary driver of support for rural communities.” According to a House Appropriations Committee Release, the bill allows a total of $145.09 billion in both discretionary and mandatory spending, representing a $922 billion cut from the enacted spending for FY 2018. Some of the key measures in the bill, highlighted in the committee release: • The legislation provides $1.713 billion for farm programs, which is $8.5 million above the fiscal year 2018 level. This includes funding for the new Farm Production and Conservation Business Center proposed by the Secretary’s reorganization for streamlining administrative and support function in the mission area. • The bill provides a total of more than $3.079 billion for rural development programs. These programs help create an environment for economic growth by providing business and housing opportunities and building sustainable rural infrastructure for the modern economy. • The legislation invests over $620 million in the expansion of broadband service to provide economic development opportunities and improved education and healthcare services. Funding is included through loan and grants including the Broadband Loan, Community Connect, Distance Learning and Telemedicine programs and a broadband pilot program. • The bill provides $3.101 billion – up $72 million from fiscal year 2018 – for agriculture research programs, including the Agricultural Research Service (ARS) and the National Institute of Food and Agriculture. • The legislation includes $998.4 million – $16.5 million above the fiscal year 2018 enacted level – for the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service. This funding will support programs to help control or eradicate plant and animal pests and diseases that can be crippling to U.S. producers. • The bill provides $1.05 billion to help farmers, ranchers, and private forest landowners conserve and protect their land. This includes $160 million for infrastructure rehabilitation to help small communities meet current safety standards for watershed projects. • The legislation includes $1.05 billion for food safety and inspection programs – a decrease of $7.5 million below the 2018 enacted level. • Included in the bill is $255 million for the Commodity Futures Trading Commission, which is $6 million above the fiscal year 2018 enacted level. • The legislation contains discretionary funding, as well as mandatory funding required by law, for food and nutrition programs within the Department of Agriculture. This includes $6 billion for the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC), $73.2 billion for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), and $23.2 billion for child nutrition programs. For the draft bill text, please visit:

GFB News Alert page 4 of 10 TAYLOR JOINS GFB PUBLIC POLICY DEPARTMENT Jeremy Taylor joined the Georgia Farm Bureau Public Policy Department as agricultural programs specialist on May 7. Taylor has a bachelor’s degree in agriculture from the University of Georgia and recently completed work on a master’s degree in plant protection and pest management from UGA. He has worked as an Extension agent and county Extension coordinator for Coffee County Extension since 2013. As agricultural programs specialist, Taylor will provide management and leadership to GFB’s Commodity Advisory Committees, and work to maintain relationships with Georgia’s agricultural commodity commissions and commodity associations. A key focus of his work will be on livestock issues.

Jeremy Taylor

MAY 31 IS DEADLINE TO SIGN UP FOR GINNING COST SHARE ASSISTANCE Cotton growers have until May 31 to sign up for Cotton Ginning Cost Share (CGCS) payments from the USDA. The deadline has been extended from May 11. The CGCS program provides assistance to cotton producers with a share in the 2016 cotton crop. The program was established under the statutory authority of the Commodity Credit Corporation Charter Act and under the administration of the USDA’s Farm Service Agency (FSA). The CGCS payments help cotton growers offset their 2016 cotton ginning costs and assist with cotton marketing. The CGCS payments are a one-time payment based on the growers’ 2016 cotton acres reported to the FSA. Georgia is part of the Southeast production region, for which the payment rate is $23.21 per acre. The cost share payments are capped at $40,000 per person or legal entity. CGCS payments do not count against other 2014 farm bill payment limitations. To view an FSA fact sheet for more details visit COURT APPROVES TOBACCO SETTLEMENT AGREEMENT On Feb. 20, U.S. District Court Judge James Dever entered an order in federal district court approving the proposed settlement agreement in Speaks v. U.S. Tobacco Cooperative. To receive a payment, class members must submit a claim by May 26. Claims may be filed online at or by downloading a claim form from the website, completing it, and mailing to Settlement Claims Administrator, 5773 PO Box 2612, Fairbault, MN 55021-9612. In their complaint against U.S. Tobacco Cooperative (USTC), the Speaks plaintiffs alleged on behalf of a class of current and former USTC members that, among other things, USTC’s purpose as an organization ended with enactment of the 2004 federal tobacco buyout. The plaintiffs asked the District Court of Eastern North Carolina to order USTC to distribute its assets to the class. Under the approved agreement, USTC will pay $24 million over five years to settle the case. Of the settlement amount, $22 million will be used to make cash payments to class members. According to the settlement agreement, class members include “individuals, proprietorships, partnerships, corporations, and other entities” that were or are members of USTC since June 1, 1946. The class also includes “any heirs, representatives, executors, powers-of-attorney, successors, assigns, or others purporting to act for or on their behalf with respect to” USTC. For more information visit

GFB News Alert page 5 of 10 NASS CONDUCTING FOLLOW-UP ON 2017 CENSUS OF AGRICULTURE The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS) is reminding Georgia farmers and ranchers that the window is closing on the opportunity to participate in the 2017 Census of Agriculture. NASS needs responses from producers who sold $1,000 or more of agricultural products in 2017, or who would have produced and sold that much. Responses are also needed from landowners who lease their land to a producer. Individuals who received a census but do not fit this definition of a farm, are asked to write their status on the form and send it back. NASS has already begun to follow up with producers who have not yet completed the questionnaire. Georgia producers can respond to the 2017 Census of Agriculture online at or by mail. The same law, Title 7 USC 2204(g) Public Law 105-113, that requires response also requires NASS to keep all information confidential, to use the data only for statistical purposes and to only publish in aggregate form to prevent disclosing the identity of any individual producer or farm operation. NASS will release Census results in February 2019. For more information about the 2017 Census of Agriculture or for assistance with the questionnaire, visit or call toll-free 888-424-7828. GA BLUEBERRY GROWERS SUFFER SECOND STRAIGHT YEAR OF CROP LOSS Georgia Agriculture Commissioner Gary Black hosted a conference call on May 15 to connect Georgia blueberry growers and agricultural industry representatives with USDA Undersecretary Bill Northey to discuss recent loss assessments for the 2018 blueberry crop. According to University of Georgia Extension, overall losses of both highbush and rabbiteye varieties could exceed 60 percent. This would be the second consecutive year of significant loss for Georgia blueberry growers. “One tough year is a hard pill to swallow,” Black said. “But there is no denying the financial strain that will be endured by these families due to this second consecutive year loss.” Unlike a devastating freeze that hit the growing region March 15-16, 2017, after a mild winter, the 2018 losses are not directly attributed to one catastrophic freeze event. “We had another warm February leading many of our plants to enter full bloom,” said blueberry farmer and Georgia Blueberry Commission member Russ Goodman. “Then March brought backto-back weeks of freezing temperatures that damaged some fruits and blooms, followed by a cool, cloudy and windy April.” The unseasonable weather did not allow blooms to fully recover from cold injury and hampered pollination efforts, because it is difficult for honeybees to fly in those conditions. Compounding the loss is competition from imported fruit during the Georgia marketing window. “There is an approximate four-month window for fresh Georgia blueberries,” Commissioner Black said. “Unfortunately, Georgia growers are forced to contend with imported blueberries from Mexico which do not have the same input, regulatory and labor costs.” In 2014 Georgia produced 95 million pounds of blueberries. Last year’s crop was 30 million pounds. Similar losses are expected for 2018 after original expectations for this year’s crop were around 120 million pounds.

GFB News Alert page 6 of 10 BAYER/MONSANTO MERGER CLEARS U.S. DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE The $66 billion sale of Monsanto to Bayer has received approval from the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ), according to published reports. Bayer made its initial offer in 2016 and the two companies have worked to clear regulatory hurdles in several nations. The DOJ approved the sale in early April. The deal received similar approval from the European Commission, Brazil, Russia and China. Bayer sold its global vegetable seeds business, certain seed treatments and digital farming businesses to BASF in order to gain regulatory clearance in multiple countries. Monsanto announced on May 7 that CEO Hugh Grant would step down after the deal is complete. Monsanto will become part of Bayer’s Crop Science Division based in Monheim, Germany.

GFB News Alert page 7 of 10 GFB TAKING LISTINGS FOR HAY DIRECTORY Farm Bureau members with hay for sale or offering custom harvesting or custom sprigging services are invited to list in the GFB Quality Hay Directory published on the GFB website. Because this directory is now offered online, hay can be listed or removed from the site as your inventory dictates. To participate, please complete a submission form available at your county Farm Bureau office or online at Please include a $10 check made payable to Georgia Farm Bureau for each listing of hay, custom harvesting or custom sprigging. Multiple listings are allowed. UGA EXTENSION FARM TAX WORKSHOPS May 17 Colquitt County Extension Office 9 a.m. - noon Moultrie May 18 Bulloch County Extension Office 9 a.m. - noon Statesboro The UGA Cooperative Extension will host this series of tax law workshops, where farmers and landowners will learn tax planning techniques and review how to correctly report income. The workshops will cover individual tax changes like standard deductions, business tax changes and comparisons of corporation tax statuses. All of these workshops will take place from 9 a.m. to noon, and a networking lunch will follow the program. Limited walk-up registration will be available. The workshops will be conducted by Robert Tufts, an Alabama Cooperative Extension System farm management specialist emeritus and attorney. To register, visit for the Colquitt County event or for the Bulloch County event. For more information about the workshops, contact Regina Fitzpatrick at 706-542-5046 or email 2018 PICTURE AGRICULTURE IN GEORGIA PHOTO CONTEST May 18 deadline to enter Georgia Farm Bureau is now accepting entries for the 2018 Picture Agriculture in Georgia Photo Contest. The contest, administered by the GFB Young Farmer and Rancher Committee, gives GFB members an opportunity to showcase agriculture and encourage appreciation of rural Georgia. The contest is open to any Georgia Farm Bureau member who receives no income from photography. To enter, email entry forms and photos as attachments to, with “Photo Contest� in the subject line. Entry forms and complete contest rules may be accessed on the GFB website at The deadline for entries is May 18. 5TH ANNUAL MADISON COUNTY GOAT SALE May 19 Brush Creek Farm 9 a.m. Colbert The sale is a platform for Madison County FFA members to sell show quality goats. Viewing begins at 9 a.m. followed by lunch at 11 a.m. and the sale at noon. Brush Creek Farm is located at 1631 Moriah Church Road in Colbert. For more information contact Madison County Middle School FFA Sponsor John Lastly at 706-783-2400 ext. 1228 or

GFB News Alert page 8 of 10 SMALL EQUIPMENT DEMONSTRATION May 23 UGA Griffin Research & Demonstration Garden 9:30 a.m. – noon Griffin This live demonstration will feature farm and garden equipment such as a roller crimper, strip tiller, garden tillers and other small tractor equipment most efficient for a small farm and garden. The demonstration will also examine alternative methods of pest control and best practices for soil conservation in small farm and garden landscapes. The demonstration will be held at the UGA— Griffin Campus in Griffin, Georgia. The Research & Demonstration Garden is located at 129 Ellis Road, Griffin. For more information call 770-358-0787 ex. 3 or email RSVP by May 21 to SYNGENTA AGRIGULTURE SCHOLARSHIP May 25 Deadline to apply Syngenta invites eligible university students to apply to its annual Syngenta Agricultural Scholarship program. University students currently pursuing bachelor’s or master’s degrees in crop-related disciplines are eligible to compete for $20,000 in scholarship awards. Applicants must be U.S. residents enrolled as of spring 2018 in an accredited agriculture program at an eligible university. Syngenta will award scholarships to a bachelor’s and master’s level national winner, selected from a pool of 4 regional winners in each category. Scholarship recipients will be announced in the fall. For more information about the scholarship, including official rules, prize amounts, essay topic, eligible universities and application guidelines, please visit SOUTHEAST DAIRY YOUTH RETREAT July 8-12 Various locations Covington Hosted by the University of Georgia, this retreat for youth from across the Southeast features tours of large and small local farms, a behind-the-scenes look at Zoo Atlanta and workshops on the inner workings of an udder, how to make butter and the inside of a cow’s stomach. Registration fee is $200 per youth participant and includes lodging, events and meals Sunday evening through Thursday morning. The registration deadline is May 30. Registration forms are provided online at GFB YOUNG FARMER & RANCHER LEADERSHIP CONFERENCE July 19-21 Jekyll Island Convention Center Jekyll Island This can’t-miss even for GFB farmer members between the ages of 18 and 35 is a great opportunity to meet members from around the state, attend educational workshops in areas such as leadership development, financial planning, advocacy, urban agriculture, and current industry trends Attendees will learn first-hand how our YF&R members are “Gaining Ground” in our industry and in our organization. Registration is $75 per person. The deadline to register is June 1. For more information or to register for the Young Farmer and Rancher Leadership Conference visit

GFB News Alert page 9 of 10 GFB YOUNG FARMER & RANCHER COMPETITIVE EVENTS June 1 deadline to enter Georgia Farm Bureau is accepting entries for the Young Farmer & Rancher competitive events the Achievement Award, Excellence in Agriculture and the Discussion Meet. Applicants must be between 18 and 35 years old. The Achievement Award recognizes young farmers and ranchers who earn the majority of their income from production agriculture. The Excellence in Agriculture Award recognizes young farmers and ranchers who earn the majority of their income from something other than production agriculture. The Discussion Meet is a series of committee-style discuss topics important to agriculture. The winners in all three contests will be honored at the GFB Convention in December and will qualify for national competition, to be held at the American Farm Bureau Federation Convention in New Orleans next January. To enter the competitive events, contact your county Farm Bureau office manager or GFB Young Farmer & Rancher Coordinator Erin Nessmith at or 478-474-0679, ext. 5232. DAUGHTERS OF AMERICAN AGRICULTURE SCHOLARSHIPS June 1 deadline to apply The American Agri-Women (AAW) Foundation is taking applications for Daughters of American Agriculture Scholarships – the Jean Ibendahl Scholarship and the Sister Thomas More Bertels Scholarship. These two scholarships are available to any farm, ranch, or agribusiness woman or her daughter to pursue accredited courses in agriculture leadership, communications, rural sociology, medicine, or any other courses directly related to agriculture. The Ibendahl Scholarship is available to high school graduates and women ages 18 – 23. The Bertels Scholarship is available to women who are returning students in agriculture and are 24 years or older. Both scholarships are for $1,000. Applications must be postmarked by June 1. Applications are available at SYNGENTA #ROOTEDINAG CONTEST June 30 deadline for entries Syngenta is offering members of the ag community a way to honor those individuals who have ignited their ag passion the most. The application period is open for the annual #RootedinAg contest. In exchange for sharing their stories, participants will have a chance to be named one of five finalists, who will each receive mini touch-screen tablets and have their inspirational stories featured on the Syngenta Thrive website at From those finalists, one grand prizewinner will receive a $500 gift card and have their story published in Thrive magazine, plus Syngenta will make a $1,000 donation in the winner’s name to a local charity or civic organization. To participate, interested candidates should : Fill out on the easy-touse online entry form at; in about 200 words, describe who most inspired them to be #RootedinAg; when prompted, upload a photograph or video that visually supports their written entry.

GFB News Alert page 10 of 10 AGRICULTURE TECHNOLOGY CONFERENCE OF THE SOUTH July 23-25 Alpharetta Conference Center Alpharetta This is Georgia’s first conference dedicated to innovation and entrepreneurship that is shaping the future of agriculture. Hosted by Tech Alpharetta, in partnership with the City of Alpharetta, the three-day Conference will address the explosive growth in ag tech that has resulted from the intersection of agriculture and technology. The event will feature an impressive list of speakers from leading organizations like ACGO, Syngenta, Microsoft, Proagrica, The Climate Corporation, Oracle, Georgia Tech, the University of Georgia, and many more. Panel discussions and break-out sessions will cover a variety of topics, including big data, ag tech logistics and supply chain, state of the region in ag tech, innovation, plant genetics and biotechnology. The Conference will also host an AgTech Startup Pitch Off at which ag tech entrepreneurs will present to a panel of industry representatives whose companies consider potential partnerships with outside innovators. Registration is $495 until June 30, then $550 until July 23. Day-of-event fee is $595. To register, visit COBB COUNTY FARM BUREAU FARMERS MARKET Tuesdays through September 3 p.m. – 7 p.m. Lost Mountain Park, Powder Springs The public is invited to check out a variety of vendors with locally grown produce, baked goods, strawberries, peaches, jams, jellies and much more. Lost Mountain Park is located at 4845 Dallas Highway in Powder Springs. For more information visit or call 770-943-3531.

Georgia Farm Bureau News Alert - May 16, 2018  

In this week's GFB News Alert... the winners have been announced in the 2018 GFB High School Art and Middle School Essay Contests, Georgia F...

Georgia Farm Bureau News Alert - May 16, 2018  

In this week's GFB News Alert... the winners have been announced in the 2018 GFB High School Art and Middle School Essay Contests, Georgia F...