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November 16, 2016

Vol. 34 No. 35

AG LABOR FORUM PROVIDES KEY TRAINING FOR GA GROWERS Farmers who need access to labor for producing and harvesting their commodities were treated to a series of expert presentations during the 2016 Agricultural Labor Relations Forum held Nov. 1 and 2 at the UGA Tifton Campus. The event, hosted by Georgia Farm Bureau, the Georgia Fruit & Vegetable Growers Association and several other statewide agricultural stakeholder groups, addressed wage and hour investigations, worker protection standards, the I-9 process and the H-2A program. The conference was similar to informational events held in Florida over the past several years. “We needed this conference to come together and understand all the issues we have on immigration,” said GFB President Gerald Long, who spoke during the Nov. 2 session. “There’s a lot of regulations. Immigration reform is a priority issue for Georgia Farm Bureau. At some point in time Congress is going to have to GFB President address this. Until that time, we’ve got to follow the requirements. Gerald Long It’s so easy to get out of compliance by not checking one box and doing one little thing that we’re supposed to do.” On Nov. 2, National Council of Agricultural Employers Executive Vice President Frank Gasperini and Superior Berry Company Vice President of Operations Mike Bruorton gave a joint presentation on the H-2A process. Gasperini gave a quick overview of labor supply challenges, noting that utilization of the H2A program has nearly doubled since 2011, from 77,000 to an estimated 150,000 in 2016. Gasperini also gave a list of basic things new H-2A employers should understand before they enter the program. First were the basic timelines for required aspects of the H-2A program. For instance, plans to provide housing for H-2A workers have to be in place, the housing must be inspected and the farmer needs to plan how to manage payroll early in the process. Gasperini’s other items: get expert advice from an agent, association or attorney; understand the contractual agreements and requirements; understand barriers from government or other organizations that could cause delays; understand all the record-keeping hurdles; understand domestic worker and advertising obligations; learn the cost concept of “for the primary benefit of -Continued on next page

GFB News Alert, page 2 of 13 Continued from previous page the employer,” referring to money spent to enable the workers to do the work, money that may not be recoverable; understand Adverse Effect Wage Rate (AEWR), experience, productivity, bonus and other pay issues; know how to handle and comply with U.S. Department of Labor Wage & Hour audits. Bruorton offered a first-time H-2A user’s perspective. On Nov. 1, Mike Rios, ag enforcement coordinator for the U.S. Department of Labor’s Wage & Hour Division, covered the key items under the Migrant & Seasonal Worker Protection Act (MSPA) and the H-2A program. Georgia Department of Agriculture Plant Industry Director Tommy Gray presented information about changes in Worker Protection Standards. Trooper Andy Sinquefield of the Georgia State Patrol gave a primer on transportation. Attorney Jessica Cook of labor and employment law firm Fisher Phillips addressed the I-9 process for employment eligibility verification and what farmers should do if they are audited. To view the presentation slides from all of the event’s presenters visit GEORGIA CORN PRODUCTION UP; COTTON, PEANUTS AND SOYBEANS DOWN Forecasts for Georgia’s production of corn, cotton, peanuts and soybeans were adjusted down in the November crop production report from the USDA’s National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS). NASS’ forecast average yield for Georgia corn production declined from 178 bushels per acre in the October report to 175 bushels per acre in the November report. The resulting forecast production for 2016 is 63.9 million bushels, up from 48.7 million bushels in 2015. The state’s cotton growers’ forecast yield was adjusted down from 976 pounds per acre in the October report to 915 pounds per acre in the November report. This offset a statewide acreage increase of 60,000 acres, resulting in a forecast production of 2.250 million bales in 2016, down slightly from 2.255 million bales in 2015. Georgia’s peanut growers’ forecast production is 2.982 billion pounds in 2016, down from 3.364 billion pounds in 2015, due largely to a acreage reduction of more than 65,000 acres. The November forecast indicated average yield of 4,200 pounds per acre, down from 4,400 pounds per acre in the October report. The state’s soybean growers were forecast to average 40 bushels per acre in the October report. NASS adjusted that forecast to 35 bushels per acre in the November report. Combined with a steep reduction in acreage, the expected production is 8.9 million bushels in 2016, down from 13.3 million bushels in 2015.

GFB News Alert page 3 of 13 GROWERS GET TIPS ON DEALING WITH DOL INVESTIGATIONS NOTE: This article is for informational purposes only and should not be construed as legal advice. To address a particular situation, consult with an attorney directly. When a Department of Labor (DOL) Wage and Hour Division investigator shows up your farm, would you know what to do? Growers who attended the 2016 Agricultural Labor Relations Forum held Nov. 2 at the UGA Tifton Campus got the crash course in a presentation called “Knock! Knock! It’s the DOL: Understanding Your Rights in an Investigation,” presented by attorneys Ann Margaret Pointer and Joshua Viau of labor and employment law firm Fisher Phillips. The brief take-away: Detailed ongoing recordkeeping is the key. Pointer and Viau reviewed what to do when a DOL investigator comes to visit, but first things first: Be ready before they get there. Since there may be little or no advance notice, assume it will happen and plan accordingly. “It’s been a recurring theme through all of these presentations that preparation is best,” said Pointer, who said she is getting indications DOL plans to increase scrutiny on Georgia farmers. The Wage & Hour Division (WHD) so far in 2016 has conducted 33 investigations of MSPA and H-2A complaints in Georgia, 14 of which resulted in civil money penalties averaging more than $32,000 per case, in addition to back wages to be paid, according to DOL statistics. Nationwide in FY 2015, WHD conducted 1,361 investigations of agricultural employers. These investigations resulted in $4.3 million in assessments for back wages and more than $5 million in civil monetary penalties. The presentation covered the typical structure of a DOL investigation, which often includes an opening conference, collection of documentation, farm tours, interviews with workers and a closing conference. The attorneys recommended designating a point of contact from the farm who will be present at the opening conference to document identity and contact information of the DOL official. When the investigator arrives, keep records and copies of everything they ask for and receive, including documentation of when it was provided. The investigators may ask for a wide variety of documentation related to the farm’s business, employment and payroll practices. In general, DOL investigations review the last two years, but if willful violations are investigated and found, they may cover the last three years. Viau noted that the DOL has authority to issue subpoenas requiring production of records, though it’s often best to prevent the process from getting to that point. He emphasized that cooperation is key for the farmer, but it has to be balanced against the needs of the farm operation. It’s also important to recognize that the investigator may not be thoroughly familiar with how farm businesses operate. “The wage and hour investigators are going to be investigating hospitals and industrial places and they may not have a sensitivity to the time pressures that you and your staff are under to get -continued on next page

GFB News Alert page 4 of 13 Continued from previous page the commodity on the truck,” Pointer said. According to Viau, during the opening conference, the investigator should present credentials, describe laws enforced and statutes of limitations, provide a general description of the scope of the investigation and describe information needed for the investigation. The farmer should ask questions to learn as much as possible about the investigation and take notes on all meetings and conversations with the investigator. Records requested often pertain to the employer, like the company name, names of company officials, whether the employer is engaged in interstate commerce, how many employees the company has, work schedule and pay records. Employers must maintain records on each employee’s pay, including the basis of pay, hourly rate, daily or weekly straight-time earnings, overtime earnings, if overtime is applicable, and additions or deductions from the employee’s wages. Some farmers who pack fruits and vegetables grown by other farmers are not aware that absent some special, very limited circumstances, their employees who pack, ship, invoice and otherwise handle commodities produced by other farmers lose the exemption from overtime requirements for the workweek in which another farmer’s produce is packed. That is because packing commodities grown by a different farmer is considered as outside the Fair Labor Standards Act definition of “agriculture” under that law. Viau and Pointer noted that farms which employ H-2A workers have additional recordkeeping requirements, as well as a contractual obligation to cooperate with DOL investigators. When investigators request farm tours, the attorneys recommended having the designated point of contact accompany the investigator at all times. The farm point of contact should take notes, and if the investigator takes photos then the point of contact should photograph the same things. It is common for DOL investigators to interview employees. These interviews are voluntary for employees, who have a number of rights related to being interviewed, including the right to have an attorney or representative present if they wish, the right not to be recorded without consent and others. On the other hand, the employer does not have the right to insist on sitting in on interviews of rank and file employees. The employer does have the right for it or its lawyer to sit in on interviews of managers whose conduct can bind the employer. The investigator should not tell employees they have to submit to an interview. By the same token, employers cannot tell employees they are not allowed to talk to the investigator or otherwise discourage employees from participating. Pointer said the employer should make sure all DOL posters should be up to date, and she noted changes in Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) regulations should be acknowledged and communicated. “If you do not have a written hazardous communication program for your farm that meets the new [OSHA] requirements, you need to have one when this next season begins Pointer said. Once the official has worked through the investigation, the investigator will schedule a closing conference, during which he or she will indicate whether there are violations and, if so, describe the alleged violations, seek a response and assurance of future compliance from the employer and ask management to pay back wages based on the results of the investigation. Pointer and Viau recommended that the farmer have an attorney or witness present, and, as with the opening conference, that the farmer ask for details. The farmer should make sure he or she understands specifically what the investigator alleges is wrong. There are appeals processes -Continued on next page

GFB News Alert page 5 of 13 Continued from previous page available, including an informal conference with a more senior Labor Department official if the employer believes the investigator’s fact findings or legal interpretations are incorrect. If back wages are allegedly due, among other things the farmer should ask about the basis for the unpaid wage claims, how the total amount was calculated, why any penalties were assessed and how those were calculated. Fisher Phillips provides a variety of tools on its website ( including subject-matter booklets on specific federal labor laws, and a collection of state law guides for labor and employment. The one for Georgia can be found at %20in%20Georgia.pdf. HAYN RETIRING, ACKERMAN NAMED SUDIA GENERAL MANAGER Cheryl Hayn, who has worked with the Southeast United Dairy Industry Association (SUDIA) for 28 years, is retiring at the end of the year. The SUDIA board of Directors has named Doug Ackerman as her successor. Hayn is a registered dietitian who began her career promoting dairy products at SUDIA in 1988. Hayn has held a number of positions while at SUDIA, working with the nutrition affairs, school health and communications departments. She was appointed as general manager in 2005. Based in Atlanta, SUDIA is a non-profit dairy promotion organization that works with schools, health professionals, retailers, dairy processors Cheryl Hayn and the public to promote dairy foods. Among the successful projects under Hayn’s SUDIA leadership was the Great American Milk Drive, which raises money to purchase fluid milk for struggling families through a partnership with Feeding America. Since 2014, more than 14 million servings of milk have been delivered through the program, including 1.13 million in Georgia. Ackerman is an Austin, Texas, native with a background in retail, marketing, consumer packaged foods and state government, as well as 22 years of service in the National Guard. Ackerman’s career has been heavily involved in the agriculture and Doug Ackerman food production industries, working for chain-restaurant Pizza Inn, Florida-based supermarket Publix and most recently as the executive director for the Florida Department of Citrus. SUDIA selected Ackerman from a pool of more than 150 applicants. Ackerman begins as SUDIA general manager on Jan. 1, 2017.

GFB News Alert page 6 of 13 GA DROUGHT DEEPENS, USDA ISSUES MORE DISASTER DECLARATIONS With nearly 75 percent of Georgia’s counties having areas under some level of drought, the state’s farmers are taking measures to minimize their losses. According to the Nov. 14 Georgia Crop Progress and Condition Report from the USDA’s National Agricultural Statistics Service, some cattle producers are culling cattle and have been feeding hay since summer because grazing forage has been decimated by the dry conditions. “Most farmers have given up hope for planting any winter forages and there’s still no rain in the forecast,” reported Bartow County Extension Coordinator Paul Pugliese. “We anticipate major hay shortages in Northwest Georgia this winter.” The dry conditions have also prompted delays in fall planting for some areas of the state. The U.S. Drought Monitor’s Nov. 8 report indicated that 144 of the state’s 159 counties have areas that are abnormally dry or worse, including 119 counties which have drought ranging from moderate to exceptional. Virtually all Georgia counties north of the Fall Line are under extreme or exceptional drought, the two most severe drought levels. Meanwhile the USDA has issued additional disaster declarations to help farmers mitigate their losses due to ongoing dry conditions. Here’s a list of counties given primary designations in recent USDA disaster declarations: Oct. 15 – Baker, Colquitt, Decatur, Grady Mitchell Thomas; Oct. 22- Miller and Seminole; Oct. 29 – Early; Nov. 7 – Crawford, Crisp, Dooly Lee, Macon, Sumter and Worth; Nov. 16 – Taylor, Terrell and Warren. Contiguous declarations: Oct. 15 – Brooks, Calhoun, Cook, Dougherty, Early, Seminole, Tift and Worth; Oct. 22 – Baker, Decatur and Early; Oct. 29 - Baker, Calhoun, Clay, Miller and Seminole; Nov. 3 – Bibb, Clay, Colquitt, Dougherty, Houston, Marion, Mitchell, Monroe, Peach, Pulaski, Quitman, Schley, Stewart, Taylor, Terrell, Tift, Turner, Upson, Webster and Wilcox; Nov. 16- Crawford, Dougherty, Glascock, Hancock, Lee, McDuffie, Macon, Marion, Randolph, Schley, Sumter, Talbot, Upson, Webster and Wilkes. Farmers in counties named either primary disaster areas or contiguous counties are eligible for low interest emergency (EM) loans from USDA’s Farm Service Agency (FSA), provided eligibility requirements are met. Farmers in eligible counties have eight months from the date of the declaration to apply for loans to help cover part of their actual losses. FSA will consider each loan application on its own merits, taking into account the extent of losses, security available and repayment ability. FSA has a variety of programs, in addition to the EM loan program, to help eligible farmers recover from adversity. Other FSA programs that can provide assistance, but do not require a disaster declaration, include the Emergency Conservation Program, the Livestock Forage Disaster Program, the Livestock Indemnity Program, the Emergency Assistance for Livestock Program, Honeybees and Farm-Raised Fish Program and the Tree Assistance Program. Interested farmers may contact their local USDA Service Centers for more information on eligibility requirements and application procedures for these and other programs. Additional information is also available online at

GFB News Alert page 7 of 13 GROWERS ELECT AMERICAN PECAN COUNCIL MEMBERS Six Georgia pecan growers and four Georgia pecan shellers have been appointed by USDA Agricultural Marketing Service Administrator Elanor Starmer to represent the Eastern Region of the newly established American Pecan Council (APC). The APC Eastern Region includes Georgia, Alabama, Florida, North Carolina and South Carolina. All of the newly appointed council members were nominated and selected by fellow pecan growers in the Eastern Region to represent their peers during a nomination and election process held in September and October. Buck A. Paulk of Ray City and Trent Mason of Fort Valley were selected to represent large pecan growers who produce pecans on 176 acres or more. Angie S. Ellis of Vienna was named Paulk’s alternate and Randy Hudson of Ocilla was named Mason’s alternate. Molly Willis of Albany was selected to represent small growers who produce pecans on less than 176 acres. Claire Powell of Bainbridge was named Willis’ alternate. Jeff Worn of Valdosta was selected to represent large shellers who handle more than 12.5 million pounds a year. Brandon Harrell of Camilla was named Worn’s alternate. Lawrence Willson of Albany was selected to represent shellers who handle less than 12.5 million pounds a year. Kenny Tarver of Glennville was named Willson’s alternate. Pecan growers selected by their peers in the APC’s Central Region (Arkansas, Kansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, Oklahoma, Texas) are Mike Adams of Texas, Michael Spradling of Oklahoma and Billy Scott Landgraf of Oklahoma. Alternates are Jennifer Ivey of Texas, Lalo Medina of Texas and Mike Montgomery of Louisiana. Growers from the APC’s Western Region (Arizona, California and New Mexico) selected to represent their peers are Loui Salopek, G.L. Straley and Phillip Arnold, all of New Mexico. Alternates are Frank Salopek of New Mexico, Leslie Daviet II of Arizona and John Heuler of California. Pecan shellers selected for the Central Region are Daniel Zedan of Texas and William York Jr. of Arizona with alternates Helen Watts of Texas and Rickey Jones of Texas. Shellers representing the Western Region will be Bruce Caris of Arizona and Sonja Roeder of New Mexico with alternates Deborah Walden-Ralls of Arizona and Blake Houston of California. All of the APC members will serve through Sept. 30, 2020. Two additional members – one from the public and one accumulator – and their alternates will be nominated at a later date. The APC is tasked with developing marketing and promotion programs and handling regulations for the U.S. pecan crop. The APC will be funded by an assessment of growers who produced an average of 50,000 pounds of inshell pecans the last four years or have 30 or more pecan acres. The APC Board will recommend the assessment amount, and the USDA will confirm it after the proposal is published in the Federal Register. According to the American Pecan Board (APB), the assessment on the 2016 crop is expected to be retroactive to Oct. 1, 2016. The APB indicated on its website earlier this fall that the likely assessment rate will be two cents per inshell pound on native, seedling and substandard pecans and three cents per inshell pound on improved pecans.

GFB News Alert page 8 of 13 ENROLLMENT UNDERWAY FOR ARC, PLC PROGRAMS Farmers with base acres under Agricultural Risk Coverage (ARC) and Price Loss Coverage (PLC) can now visit USDA Farm Service Agency (FSA) offices to sign contracts and enroll for the 2017 crop year. The enrollment period for the two programs, which were established under the 2014 farm bill, continues until Aug. 1, 2017. If a farm is not enrolled during the 2017 enrollment period, the producers on that farm will not be eligible for financial assistance from the ARC or PLC programs for the 2017 crop should crop prices or farm revenues fall below the historical price or revenue benchmarks established by the program. Producers who made their elections in 2015 must still enroll during the 2017 enrollment period. The ARC and PLC programs offer a safety net to agricultural producers when there is a substantial drop in prices or revenues for covered commodities. Covered commodities include barley, canola, large and small chickpeas, corn, crambe, flaxseed, grain sorghum, lentils, mustard seed, oats, peanuts, dry peas, rapeseed, long grain rice, medium grain rice (which includes short grain and sweet rice), safflower seed, sesame, soybeans, sunflower seed and wheat. Upland cotton is not a covered commodity, falling instead under the STAX program. For more details regarding these programs, go to For more information, producers are encouraged to visit their local FSA office. To find a local FSA office, visit

CROP INSURANCE DEADLINE NEARS FOR APPLES, BLUEBERRIES, PEACHES Georgia apple, blueberry, and peach growers have until Nov. 20 to apply for crop insurance coverage or make changes to their existing coverage. Crop insurance provides protection against a loss in production due to natural perils, such as drought or excessive moisture. Coverage is available for apples in Fannin, Gilmer and Rabun counties. Coverage is available for blueberries in Appling, Atkinson, Bacon, Berrien, Brantley, Burke, Clinch, Coffee, Colquitt, Jeff Davis, Lanier, Long, Pierce, Ware and Wayne counties. Coverage is available for peaches in Bacon, Banks, Brooks, Crawford, Dooly, Hall, Henry, Macon, Meriwether, Monroe, Morgan, Oconee, Peach, Pierce, Pike, and Taylor counties. Growers are encouraged to visit their crop insurance agent soon to learn specific details for the 2017 crop year. A list of crop insurance agents is available at all USDA Service Centers by visiting the RMA agent locator a Growers can use the RMA cost estimator at to get a premium amount estimate of their insurance needs online. Learn more about crop insurance and the modern farm safety net at

GFB News Alert page 9 of 13 JOINT BROADBAND COMMITTEE HEARS TESTIMONY The Joint High-Speed Broadband Communications Access for All Georgians Study Committee held its fifth meeting at Georgia Farm Bureau in Macon on Oct. 20. The committee is studying the conditions, needs, issues and problems related to broadband access in rural areas of Georgia. During the meeting, the committee heard presentations from stakeholders in health care, public safety and emergency management, and the telecommunications industry on the needs and benefits of high-speed broadband access. Approximately 60 people attended the meeting. The committee, made up of five members of the Georgia House of Representatives and five members of the Georgia Senate, is co-chaired by Rep. Steve Gooch (R-Dahlonega) and Sen. Don Parsons (R-Marietta). It was established under Senate Resolution 876 during the 2016 Georgia legislative session, and is tasked with exploring the issues surrounding broadband access and recommend legislation to address those issues. In Macon, the committee heard from Mike McClain, chief strategy officer for ComSouth, which provides telecommunications services to several counties and cities in Middle Georgia. McClain explained the economic challenges involved in expanding broadband into sparsely populated areas, noting that it costs about $20,000 per mile to to install new cabling, plus the cost of connecting users to the network, which varies according to how far off the road they live. McClain said spending the money to build that stretch of network does not make economic sense if there aren’t enough potential subscribers to offset the construction cost. “The reason these people don’t have broadband today is that it didn’t make economic sense for AT&T, Windstream or ComSouth to build it,” McClain told the committee. “If you could have made a return on it we would have already done it.” McClain proposed that the state consider incentives – he specifically mentioned a state broadband grant - to help telecommunications companies recoup some of the cost of building networks. The committee also heard from Craig Ganssle, founder and CEO of Alpharetta-based Basecamp Networks. Ganssle said his company does extensive work with farmers and rural communities, where precision agricultural technology is generating data on yields and other aspects of farm operations. “I hear everybody talk about the last mile, and how it is problematic to get down that dirt road to that farmer,” Ganssle said. “I’ve talked to many farmers around the country. There’s a huge willingness to work together in the rural communities of the farmers out there to help with the companies that want to deploy the broadband with the construction costs that are willing to do it.”

GFB News Alert page 10 of 13 NRCS IN GEORGIA ANNOUNCES EQIP SIGN-UP Sign-up for fiscal year 2017 Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP) is underway and all Georgia producers who wish to be considered for financial assistance should apply by Nov. 18, 2016. While producers can apply year round, this application cutoff announcement is for all general EQIP, as well as some special initiatives such as the Longleaf Pine, On-Farm Energy, Organic, Seasonal High Tunnel, StrikeForce, Working Lands for Wildlife and the North Georgia Irrigation Pilot Project. They can do so by visiting their local USDA Service Center and submitting a Conservation Program Application (NRCS-CPA-1200). MANAGING CATTLE IN DROUGHT CONDITIONS Nov. 28 Carroll County Ag Center 5:30 p.m. – 9 p.m. Carrollton This evening workshop, sponsored by the Carroll County Cooperative Extension Service, features presentations on the current severe drought conditions in Georgia, managing nutrition and forage quality for cattle during drought, understanding diseases and other health challenges and navigating expenses and tax challenges. Registration is $10, which includes a meal and reference materials. Register by Nov. 23 by contacting Richard Littleton at or calling the Carroll County Extension at 770-836-6546. 2016 GEORGIA FARM BUREAU ANNUAL CONVENTION Dec. 4-6 Jekyll Island Convention Center Jekyll Island Gov. Nathan Deal, Sen. David Perdue, Georgia Agriculture Commissioner Gary Black and UGA CAES Dean Sam Pardue are slated to speak on Dec. 5 and GFB President Gerald Long will give his annual address. Other events at the GFB Convention will include commodity conferences for Georgia’s 20 major commodities on Dec. 5, announcements of the 2016 state award winners on Dec. 4 and the annual trade show Dec. 4-5. Voting delegates will adopt the organization’s policy for 2017 on Dec. 6 and elect the 2017 GFB Board. For more information contact your county Farm Bureau office. GFB FOUNDATION BREAKFAST Dec. 5 Jekyll Island Convention Center 7 a.m. Jekyll Island The Foundation Breakfast, part of the 2016 GFB Convention, supports the GFB Foundation for Agriculture, which provides postsecondary scholarships, Ag in the Classroom programs, consumer awareness and adult learning opportunities, all aimed at advancing Georgia agriculture. Tickets are $25 per person. To reserve your seats contact Marilyn Akers at 478-4740679, ext. 5231 or at

GFB News Alert page 11 of 13 NOMINATIONS OPEN FOR OUTSTANDING YOUNG PEANUT FARMER Dec. 15 deadline for nominations The Georgia Peanut Commission is accepting nominations for the Outstanding Georgia Young Peanut Farmer. The state winner will be announced at the Georgia Peanut Farm Show on Jan. 19, 2017 in Tifton. The award, sponsored by the Georgia Peanut Commission and BASF, is based upon the applicant’s overall farm operation; environmental and stewardship practices; and leadership, civic, church, and community service activities. The award is open for any active Georgia peanut farmer who is not over 45 years of age, as of Jan. 19, 2017. An individual may receive the award only once. There is no limit on the number of applicants from each county in Georgia. Applications are due to the GPC office by Tuesday, Dec. 15, 2016. The award application is available online at or by contacting Joy Crosby at 229-3863690 or 2017 SE REGIONAL FRUIT & VEGETABLE CONFERENCE Jan. 5-8, 2017 Savannah International Trade Center Savannah The Southeast Regional Fruit and Vegetable Conference is the largest educational conference and trade show in the Southeastern United States that brings growers, vendors and suppliers together. Anyone with an interest in specialty crop agriculture is invited to attend this event. The conference offers more than 80 hours of educational sessions and will address food safety concerns, specific commodity issues on production practices and increased yields and marketing strategies. The trade show features more than 85,000 square feet of space filled with key suppliers and growers. Full four-day registration is $155, and single-day registration rates are available. To register visit 2017 AG FORECAST MEETINGS Jan. 18 Georgia Farm Bureau Macon Jan. 19 Cobb County Civic Center Marietta Jan. 20 Carroll County Ag Center Carrollton Jan. 23 UGA Conference Center Tifton Jan. 24 Decatur County Ag Center Bainbridge Jan. 25 Toombs County Ag Center Lyons Jan. 26 Burke County Office Park Waynesboro Jan. 27 Georgia Center for Continuing Education Athens This annual series is supported by an endowment from Georgia Farm Bureau with support from the Georgia Department of Agriculture and the Georgia Agribusiness Council. The keynote topic for the Jan. 18, 23, 24, 25 and 26 meetings will be a farm bill update given by Bob Redding. The keynote topic for the Jan. 19, 20 and 27 meetings will be the Veterinary Feed Directive, given by Dr. Brent Credille of the UGA College of Veterinary Medicine. Check-in for all of the meetings, except Tifton, begins at 9 a.m. with seminars starting at 10 a.m. followed by lunch at 11:30 a.m. Check-in for the Tifton event starts at 7 a.m., breakfast will be served at 7:30 a.m. followed by the seminar from 8 to 9:30 a.m. Cost is $30 per person or $200 for a table of eight. Advance registration is required. For more information or to register, visit, call 706-583-0347 or email Follow the meetings on or on Twitter @UGA_CollegeofAg and join the conversation with #AgForecast.

GFB News Alert page 12 of 13 41ST ANNUAL GEORGIA PEANUT FARM SHOW AND CONFERENCE Jan. 19, 2017 UGA Tifton Campus Conference Center 8:30 a.m. – 2:30 p.m. Tifton The one-day show is free and open to all farmers and industry representatives to attend. !Attendees will have the opportunity to visit with more than 100 agribusinesses and organizations in the peanut and agricultural industry. Farmers will be able to earn private and commercial pesticide applicators' certification, as well as learn about cutting-edge research and developments during the University of Georgia Peanut Production Seminar and industry-wide sponsored Peanut Seed Seminar. ! The Georgia Peanut Commission, in cooperation with OneBlood, will host a blood drive from 9 a.m.-2 p.m. during the show. At the close of the day, there will be nearly $10,000 in door prizes presented to farmers, as well as a grand door prize, vendor products, certificates and equipment. !For more information on the show, contact the Georgia Peanut Commission office at 229-386-3470. Information is also available online at GA COTTON COMMISSION ANNUAL MEETING & UGA COTTON WORKSHOP

Jan. 25, 2017 UGA Tifton Campus Conference Center Tifton This event begins at 8 a.m. and features presentations from key industry stakeholders as well as the Georgia Quality Cotton Awards. For more information call 478-988-4235 or visit FARMERS ALMANAC FARMER OF THE YEAR CONTEST Jan. 31, 2017 deadline for nominations Farmers' Almanac, in partnership with the American Farm Bureau Federation, is searching for three farmers or ranchers to be recognized as “Farmers' Almanac Farmer of the Year.” The contest seeks to recognize and share the dedication, hard work and contributions farmers make to our world and society. Nominations must highlight, in 300 words or less, the following criteria: Supporting the Tradition - How long has the nominee been in their field? How did he or she get involved in agriculture and why? - Innovation in Agriculture: How the nominee has embraced technology or new ways of farming and ranching; Community Involvement - How has the nominee engaged his/her community to support agriculture and/or teach more about farming overall; and Inspiration - How the nominee is a true leader in agriculture and deserves to be recognized. All nominations must be received by Jan. 31, 2017, and must be submitted online at

GFB News Alert page 13 of 13 ONGOING FARM BUREAU-SPONSORED FARMERS MARKETS DODGE COUNTY FARMERS MARKET Saturdays Dodge County Courthouse 9 a.m. – 2 p.m. Eastman This open-air market, sponsored in part by Dodge County Farm Bureau, features locally produced meats, vegetables, eggs and artisanal crafts. For more information contact market manager T.I. Papel at 478-374-5895 or, or visit SHIELDS-ETHRIDGE HERITAGE FARM CULTIVATORS’ MARKET Nov. 19 Shields-Ethridge Heritage Farm, 2355 Ethridge Rd. 9 a.m. – 1 p.m. Jefferson Jackson County Farm Bureau (JCFB) is sponsoring this open-air market that will allow local farmers and entrepreneurs to sell products they make or grow in a festival atmosphere. Market will be held rain or shine. The Shields-Ethridge Heritage Farm is an outdoor ag museum that functions as an educational and interpretative facility. Proceeds from the market will be used for restoration projects at the farm. If you are interested in having a booth at the market, contact JCFB Office Manager Denise Temple at or call 706-367-8877 or visit to complete an application online.

Georgia Farm Bureau News Alert - November 16, 2016  

This week in the GFB News Alert... an agricultural labor forum provided important information to Georgia growers, updated forecasts for Geo...

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