October 24, 2012
Vol. 30 No. 43
PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATES OUTLINE POSITIONS ON FARM ISSUES President Barack Obama and Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney recently spelled out their positions on agriculture issues in responses to a questionnaire from the American Farm Bureau Federation. Both candidates went into detail about their positions on energy, environmental regulations, farm labor and more. Every four years, the American Farm Bureau Federation asks the Democratic and Republican presidential nominees to address the issues that concern farmers and ranchers most. This election, energy issues and farm policy are the driving forces in the candidate’s responses. “Our rural communities, farmers and ranchers can increase our energy independence and boost the transition to a clean energy economy,” Obama responded. “Last year, rural America produced enough renewable fuels like ethanol and biodiesel to meet roughly 8 percent of our needs, helping us increase our energy independence to its highest level in 20 years … and the new Renewable Fuel Standard helped boost biodiesel production to nearly 1 billion gallons in 2011, supporting 39,000 jobs.” Romney also said he supports the RFS and other agriculture-derived energies. “I have a vision for an America that is an energy superpower, rapidly increasing our own production and partnering with our allies, Canada and Mexico, to achieve energy independence on this continent by 2020,” said Romney. “The increased production of biofuels plays an important part in my plan to achieve energy independence. In order to support increased market penetration and competition among energy sources, I am in favor of maintaining the Renewable Fuel Standard.” On farm policy, Obama said he understands the need for a strong farm safety net. “That’s why I increased the availability of crop insurance and emergency disaster assistance to help over 590,000 farmers and ranchers keep their farms in business after natural disasters and crop loss,” he said. “My administration expanded farm credit to help more than 100,000 farmers struggling during the financial crisis … and as farmers continue to go through hard times because of this drought, we are expanding access to low-interest loans, encouraging insurance companies to extend payment deadlines and opening new lands for livestock farmers to graze their herds.” Romney said he supports passage of a strong farm bill “that provides the appropriate risk management tools that will work for farmers and ranchers throughout the country.” He noted that his running mate, Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.), voted for drought relief. To view the full questionnaires and responses, visit http://tinyurl.com/9bclwvh.
Leadership Alert page 2 of 7 FARM BUREAU ENCOURAGES CONGRESS TO HALT TAX HIKE American Farm Bureau is encouraging farmers nationwide to contact their federal legislators and urge them to reform estate and capital gains tax rates set to go into effect Jan. 1, 2013. Unless Congress takes action during the lame-duck session following the Nov. 6 elections, the federal estate tax exemption will drop to $1 million per person with no spousal transfer and the top rate will increase to 55 percent. The estate tax exemption is currently $5 million per person and the top rate is 35 percent until Dec. 31. The capital gains tax rate will rise from 15 to 20 percent on Jan. 1, 2013. “They’re only going to be here about three weeks and that’s really not very long. There’s a list of things they need to get done. The tax bill is one of them; the farm bill is another. Dealing with the sequestration issue is a third and there’s a real possibility that they’ll not have enough time to do everything,” said AFB Tax Specialist Pat Wolff. “Farm Bureau has engaged in a grassroots campaign to push the tax items that we think are most important and that is making sure that we don’t have a huge increase in the estate taxes or capital gains taxes come January 1.” The estate tax rate hike and lower exemption could result in as many as 10 percent of farms and ranches owing estate taxes in 2013 and beyond compared with about 1.62 percent in 2009 when the exemption was $3.5 million, according to the USDA Economic Research Service. “Congress needs to understand that farming requires large investments in land, and equipment. There’s an old saying that farmers are land rich and cash poor,” said Georgia Farm Bureau President Zippy Duvall. “Maintaining the current estate tax exemption at $5 million adjusted for inflation with a maximum rate of 35 percent will give farm families a better chance to pass their farms on from one generation to the next.” Georgia Farm Bureau has addressed this issue with Georgia’s congressional delegation on numerous occasions. To let your voice be heard on the issue, visit AFB’s FBACT Insider website http://www.fbactinsider.org/issues/taxes. Click on Action Alert to send a message to your congressman. TYSON LAUNCHES ANIMAL WELFARE AUDIT PROGRAM Tyson Foods Inc. announced on Oct. 12 it is launching a program to personally audit the treatment of animals at the livestock and poultry farms that supply the company. According to a company press release, Tyson currently works with more than 12,000 independent livestock and poultry farmers. The audits – called the Tyson FarmCheck Program – have already begun on a trial basis on some of the 3,000 independent hog farms that supply the company. Auditors are visiting the farms to check on such things as animal access to food and water, as well as proper human-animal interaction and worker training. The FarmCheck program has been under development since early spring 2012. Although Tyson personnel have been conducting the audits so far, the company plans to ultimately involve independent, third party auditors. It also intends to expand the program to include chicken and cattle farms by January 2014. According to the release, the audits are being developed by experienced veterinarians and animal welfare experts and are expected to include measures that build upon current voluntary farm industry programs.
Leadership Alert page 3 of 7 MAYFIELD TO REOPEN BRASELTON VISITOR CENTER Mayfield Dairy Farms has announced the company’s visitor center in Braselton will reopen to the public on Nov 9. The center has been closed since fall 2011 while the company looked for ways to make it more economically viable. “We are thrilled to be able to open the Braselton visitor center again,” said Mayfield General Manager Mary Williams. “As we indicated last fall, we were eager to reopen if we could find an economically viable way of doing so. Many guests suggested they would be willing to pay a small fee for the informational tours. In addition, the town of Braselton has offered its support. We know the visitor center has been a great way for our business to connect with our consumers and the general public, and we’re excited to bring this attraction back to the Braselton community.” Tours offered at the visitor center in Braselton and Mayfield’s other visitor center in Athens, Tenn., will remain free to the public through the end of the year. Beginning in 2013, tours at either visitor center will incur a $3 charge per person and will include a free scoop of Mayfield ice cream. Visiting the gift shop and ice cream parlor will remain free. The center will be open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday - Friday with the first tour to start at 10 a.m. and the last one to start at 4 p.m. On Saturdays, the hours will be 9 a.m. to 2 p.m., with the first tour at 10 a.m. and the last tour at 1 p.m. There will be no tours on Wednesdays, and the visitor center will be closed on Sundays. To schedule a tour, call 1-888-298-0396. GODWIN NAMED TO SOYBEAN BOARD; DEAL MAKES APPOINTMENTS Grady County Farm Bureau Young Farmer Chairman Walter Godwin was recently appointed by Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack to the board of directors for the United Soybean Board. The 69-member board is authorized by the Soybean Promotion, Research and Consumer Information Act. Vilsack selected the appointees from soybean producers nominated by qualified state soybean boards. All appointees will serve 3-year terms beginning December 2012. Also, Georgia Gov. Nathan Deal made a pair of appointments to groups important to agriculture. Deal reappointed Jason R. Winters to the Georgia Rural Development Council. Winters was elected Chattooga County commissioner in 2008 and is currently serving his first term. He served as chairman of the Chattooga County Chamber of Commerce in 2006 and sits on the board of directors. He also serves on the board of directors of the Coosa Valley Regional Development Center in Rome. Winters earned a bachelor’s degree in political science from Berry College. He lives on his family’s farm in Lyerly. Deal appointed William C. Nelson III to the Tennessee Valley Authority Regional Resource Stewardship Council. Nelson is currently president of Nelson Tractor Company and has served for more than 20 years in the agricultural equipment industry. He is the third generation to carry on the business that was established in 1949. Nelson served as chairman of the Southern Equipment Dealers Association and is a member of the Kubota National Dealer Council. He received a bachelor’s degree in finance and economics from Lipscomb University. Nelson and his family live in Blairsville.
Leadership Alert page 4 of 7 HORSE PASTURE FIELD DAY Oct. 25 3340 Ga. Highway 16 West 3 p.m.-6:30 p.m. Monticello This free event will cover a variety of topics related to equine forage, including equine nutrition, forage systems, weed control and demonstrations. There will be a sponsored dinner, during which the Conservationist of the Year Award will be given. For more information or to make a reservation, contact the Jasper County Extension Office at 706-468-6479 by noon on Oct. 24. GEORGIA GROWN SYMPOSIUM TO PROVIDE MARKETING TIPS Nov 8-9 Marriott City Center Macon Whether you’re a grower, retailer, distributor, or institution this symposium has speakers and topics you need to hear! This event will focus on the production, distribution and consumer side of food products as part of the state’s Georgia Grown marketing program. Speakers will cover topics including finance, food safety, contracts/licensing, regulations, legal liabilities and insurance issues, economic development and accessing institutional buyers, like schools. Preregistration is required to attend. Visit http://georgiagrownsymposium.eventbrite.com to register and access a list of speakers. The registration deadline is Friday, Oct. 26. Make hotel arrangements directly with the Macon Marriott City Center at 478-621-5300. Your room costs only $89 if you mention you're with the Georgia Grown group. Contact Margaret Lisi at email@example.com for more information. ANNUAL WILD HOG AND DEER HUNT Oct. 26-27 East entrance off Highway 121/23 Okefenokee NWR A total of 40 permits will be awarded for this hunt, including 10 reserved for disabled hunters in wheelchairs. The hunt is for deer (either sex, limit is two per day) and feral hogs (either sex, no limit). Hunters are required to use shotgun slugs or muzzleloaders only; buckshot is not permitted. Deer taken during this hunt do not count against the state limit, and special refuge tags will be provided at checkout. Hunters must have a valid Georgia hunting license. Permits are $12.50 and will be issued on a first-come, first-served basis at the Okefenokee Shop area beginning at 4 a.m. each day of the hunt. For information call 912-496-7836. HAWKINSVILLE HARVEST FEST/PIGS & PRODUCE BARBECUE CONTEST Oct. 26 & 27 Courthouse Square Hawkinsville Better Hometown of Hawkinsville will host the annual Harvest Fest featuring the Pigs and Produce barbecue competition, an official contest sanctioned by the Georgia Barbecue Association. Along with some great professional barbecue teams and some very interesting ancillary categories, Hawkinsville will host the first-ever Georgia State Boiled Peanut Championship sponsored by Hardy Farms Peanuts and the Old vs. New Faceoff. The head-tohead Old vs. New Faceoff contest will be held on the courthouse square in downtown Hawkinsville between barbecue legend Myron Mixon of Jack’s Old South and his son, Michael Mixon of Jack’s New South. Entrants in the Boiled Peanut Championship must use peanuts provided by Hardy Farms, must cook the peanuts on site and must present a sample for judging at the specified judging time. Entry fee for the Boiled Peanut Championship is $25. The GBA contest is open to GBA registered competitors. Fees $85 in each of three categories: Ribs, pulled pork and pork loin. There are also four ancillary contests at the event. The others are: Chicken, Brunswick stew, barbecue sauce and people’s choice. The fees for those contests are also $25 each. A limited number of spaces are available and will be accepted on a first-come, first-served basis. Visit http://www.hawkinsvilleharvestfest.com for more information.
Leadership Alert page 5 of 7 COMMERCIAL MEAT GOAT BUSINESS DEVELOPMENT EVENT Oct. 29 Boggs Rural Life Center, 4279 Quaker Rd. Keysville This free event, which runs from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., includes a farm demonstration and is designed to provide information for potential business owners in the meat goat industry. The event includes a hands-on goat production management session, a survey of applicable USDA programs, information on market accessibility and profitability and supply chain management information. For more information, contact Bryan Zulko at Bryan.Zulko@ga.usda.gov or Deborah Callahan at Deborah.Callahan@ga.usda.gov or call 706-546-2162. GEORGIA FARM BUREAU DISTRICT ANNUAL MEETINGS Oct. 30 8th District South Ga. Technical College 7 p.m. Americus Nov. 1 4th District Greene County High School 7 p.m. Greensboro Nov. 8 6th District Poplar Spgs. North Bapt. Ch. 7p.m. Dublin Contact your county Farm Bureau office for more information. These meetings are for Farm Bureau members only and are not open to the general public. GA MILK PRODUCERS GRAZING & FORAGE MANAGEMENTWORKSHOPS Oct. 30 Trinity United Methodist Church, 5622 Clarks Bridge Rd. Clermont Nov.1 Pennington Church Annex, 1160 Broughton Rd. Madison Nov. 9 Burke Co. Extension Office, 715 West 6th St. Waynesboro Nov. 27 Macon Co. Extension Office , 100 Sumter St. Oglethorpe Nov. 30 UGA Tifton Conference Center Tifton The Georgia Milk Producers Inc. and Dr. Dennis Hancock, University of Georgia Forage Extension Specialist, are offering a series of workshops to discuss how dairy producers can manage their grazing and forages to offset feed costs and manage nutrients. These workshops qualify for two continuing education credit hours for waste operators and nutrient management planners. Meetings are free and open to dairymen, managers and employees. All workshops begin at 10 a.m. and are scheduled to end at noon with lunch. For meal purposes, please preregister by calling Farrah Newberry at 706-310-0020 three days before the meeting you will attend. GFB TAKING LISTINGS FOR HAY & LITTER DIRECTORY GFB members with hay or poultry litter for sale are invited to list their farm in the 2013 GFB Quality Hay & Litter Directory. The directory will be printed in late November. Producers should complete a form and send to the GFB office in Macon along with a check for $10 for each listing. Checks should be made out to Georgia Farm Bureau. Oct. 31 is the deadline to submit listings. Because this directory is used for the entire year, producers should include normal and projected production of round and square bales they anticipate selling. Poultry litter can be listed on the same form. Directories are distributed to all county Farm Bureau offices, county Extension offices, the Georgia Cattlemen's Association, cattle producers, dairy producers, horse owners, directory participants, and at the Sunbelt Expo and the annual GFB convention. The directory is also listed on the GFB website. Forms for the directory are available at your local Farm Bureau office or on our website http://www.gfb.org. Contact Joe McManus at 1-800342-1196 for more information.
Leadership Alert page 6 of 7 GFB TAKING HAY CONTEST ENTRIES Georgia Farm Bureau members who grow Bermuda grass hay are encouraged to enter the GFB 2012 Quality Hay Contest. Hay entered in the contest will be tested at the University of Georgia testing lab using the Relative Forage Quality (RFQ) test, which predicts fiber digestibility and likely animal intake of hay. Contest entry forms are available at county Farm Bureau offices or online at http://www.gfb.org/commodities/hay_contest.html. Producers may enter more than one sample. Entry fees are $15 per entry to cover the cost of the lab tests. Oct. 31 is the deadline to enter. Contest participants will receive a detailed copy of their hay analysis and receive a free listing in the GFB Hay & Litter Directory if they choose. Winners will be announced at the GFB Hay Committee meeting on Dec. 3 during the annual GFB Convention on Jekyll Island. Prizes will be awarded for the top five places. Contact Joe McManus at 1-800-342-1196 for more information. GA. TOBACCO COMMISSION SEEKS NOMINATIONS FOR BOARD The Georgia Department of Agriculture (GDA) is accepting nominations for three Georgia Tobacco Commission board positions. The commissionâ€™s farmer-funded programs of research, promotion and education are authorized by the Georgia Agricultural Commodities Promotion Act. All tobacco producers are eligible to submit nominations or to be nominated. The terms are for three years, and nominees must be willing to attend several board meetings per year. The deadline for submitting nominations is Oct. 31. Appointments will be made by the commissionâ€™s ex officio members. Geographic representation will be considered when making appointments. Nominations can be made by filling out a Nominee Information Form available at Farm Service Agency (FSA) offices. Send completed applications via email to: firstname.lastname@example.org. Forms may also be mailed to: Georgia Department of Agriculture, Room 328, 19 MLK Jr. Drive, SW, Atlanta, GA 30334 or faxed to 404-656-9380. Please note this is a change from how the nominating procedure was done in the past. Please direct questions to the GDA Commodities Promotion Division at 404-656-3678. EQIP APPLICATION DEADLINE IS NOV. 2 Applications for the Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP) are due by Nov. 2 to be considered for funding in fiscal year 2013. Interested landowners may apply at all NRCS offices and USDA Service Centers. EQIP is a voluntary program that funds conservation practices based on state-identified natural resource concerns. Landowners approved for EQIP are eligible for technical and financial assistance to address soil, water and related natural resource concerns on private lands. For more information, visit http://www.ga.nrcs.usda.gov/programs/. THE ROYAL ALPACA CHALLENGE Nov. 3-4 Georgia International Horse Park Conyers This free, family oriented event brings alpaca owners from across the US to compete in the show ring for cash prizes! Fiber arts demonstrations, vendors offering all things alpaca including those luxurious, hypo-allergenic, sweaters, hats, vests, yarns and more and a Silent Auction filled with treasures for all ages make this an excitingly diverse event for the whole family. Anyone interested in this unique fiber animal have an opportunity to learn about raising alpacas directly from the owners. Fiber arts organizations, weaving guilds and like organizations will enjoy. Adults and children delight in meeting the gentle alpacas! For more information, visit http://www.RoyalAlpacaChallenge.com.
Leadership Alert page 7 of 7 AG, ENGINEERING AND NATURAL RESOURCES CAREER FAIR AT UGA Nov. 7 UGA Tate Student Center Noon – 4 p.m. Athens The University of Georgia is looking for companies needing a few good hires or summer interns. Visit http://georgiafaces.caes.uga.edu/?public=viewStory&pk_id=4516 for more information. Companies that want to register for the fair should visit career.uga.edu/hireuga or email LeAnn Golob at email@example.com. DHS ACCEPTING COMMENTS ON E-VERIFY The U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS), U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) has published a notice of information collection regarding the E-Verify program. The purpose is to obtain comments from the public and affected agencies regarding items listed in the notice, specifically the estimated public burden and associated response time of E-Verify and methods to minimize the burden of the collection of information on those utilizing the system. Comments are due by Nov. 13 via email at firstname.lastname@example.org and must include OMB Control Number 1615-0092 in the subject box. Comments may also be submitted via the Federal eRulemaking Portal Web site at http://www.regulations.gov/ under e-Docket ID number USCIS–2007-0023. Further instructions within the Federal Register notice are available at http://tinyurl.com/8uzs39l. GFB TAKING ENTRIES FOR EXCELLENCE IN TEACHING AG AWARD The Georgia Excellence in Teaching About Agriculture Award is an opportunity to recognize teachers who actively engage students in learning about agriculture. County Farm Bureaus may nominate one teacher in their county for the state award, which includes $500 cash and up to $1,500 in expenses to attend the 2013 National Ag in the Classroom Conference, to be held June 25-28 in Minneapolis. The state winner will also be invited to present his or her program at the GFB Educational Leadership Conference on March 16, 2013. The deadline to enter is Nov. 16, 2012. For more information, contact GFB Ag in the Classroom Coordinator Donna Rocker at 478-474-0679, ext. 5365 or email@example.com. NOV. 30 IS DEADLINE TO APPLY FOR MONSANTO CHARITY PROGRAM Farmers in 33 south Georgia counties have until Nov. 30 to register to win $2,500 for a charity of their choice in the 2nd Annual America’s Farmers Grow Communities Program sponsored by Monsanto. Eligible counties are: Appling, Baker, Berrien, Bleckley, Brooks, Bulloch, Burke, Calhoun, Coffee, Colquitt, Cook, Crisp, Decatur, Dooly, Early, Grady, Irwin, Jeff Davis, Jefferson, Lee, Macon, Miller, Mitchell, Screven, Seminole, Sumter, Tattnall, Terrell, Thomas, Tift, Turner, Wilcox and Worth. The winning farmers and charities will be announced in January 2013. Visit http://www.growcommunities.com or call 1-877-267-3332 for eligibility rules and to apply. TECHNICAL LARGE ANIMAL EMERGENCY RESCUE TRAINING Dec. 7-9 TLAER Facility Gray This course will provide certification training on the practical considerations behind safe extraction of live large animals fro entrapments like trailer wrecks, ditches, barn fires and more. Cost before Dec. 1 is $400 for operations hands-on training, including textbook, and $120 for awareness level training, not including textbook. Walk-in cost is $475 for operations level and $170 for awareness level on the day of the course. For more information visit http://www.tlaer.org/.