October 2, 2013
Vol. 31 No. 40
CONFERENCE HIGHLIGHTS EXPORT OPPORTUNITIES With growing middle class populations in numerous countries around the world and the coming expansion in shipping capabilities out of the Port of Savannah, farmers and farm-related businesses could enjoy expanded opportunities to export their products, according to presenters at the International Agribusiness Conference & Expo (IACE). The event, for which Georgia Farm Bureau was a major sponsor, was held Sept. 25 & 26 in Savannah. The IACE was staged jointly by the University of Georgia’s College of Agricultural & Environmental Sciences and the Georgia Southern University Department of Continuing Education. The event drew an estimated 200 participants according to conference organizers. According to Georgia Gov. Nathan Deal, who addressed the conference on Sept. 25, the Savannah Harbor Expansion Project (SHEP), which would increase the depth of the Savannah River by five feet in the channel leading to the Port of Savannah, will allow it to accept the larger ships that will be traveling through the Panama Canal after the completion of its expansion project, expected by mid-2015. Deal noted that 40 percent of the U.S. population relies on the Port of Savannah as a point of import or export and that the SHEP is down to the final administrative hurdles before dredging can begin. “We’re going to continue to work throughout our state to make sure that other parts of the state can take advantage of the opportunities that the port offers and will continue to offer, especially with the larger vessels,” Deal said. “I am convinced that what Georgia produces and produces efficiently, the world will buy if we give them the opportunity to do so.” Georgia is already one of the nation’s leading export states for chicken, pecans and cotton. Todd Gerken of the U.S. Commercial Service talked about the reasons to consider getting into the export business, noting that more than 95 percent of the world’s population lives outside the U.S. and that the U.S. percentage of the world economy has declined from about 50 percent just after World War II to less than 20 percent in 2010. He also said that the growth in per capita income in countries on every continent represents business opportunity for U.S. exporters. Dimitris Kloussiadis of the University of Georgia’s Small Business Development Center talked about factors to consider while deciding to enter the export business. Mascot Pecan Shelling Company owner Kenny Tarver discussed his company’s entry into the export business, which was made necessary by the rapid growth in demand for pecans in Asia. Eric Johnson, an international trade specialist with the U.S. Export Assistance Center Atlanta office, discussed he many services offered by federal government agencies to help businesses.
Leadership Alert page 2 of 5 GEORGIA DEPARTMENT OF AG OPENS BEEF REFERENDUM PROCESS Georgia cattle producers have until Dec. 31 to sign up with the Georgia Department of Agriculture to receive a ballot to vote in a state referendum that will determine if an assessment of up to $1 per head is collected to fund the Georgia Agricultural Commodity Commission for Beef. The referendum was authorized under Senate Bill 97 during the 2013 Georgia General Assembly. Ballots will be sent to eligible producers who sign up. An eligible producer is anyone who has owned cattle in Georgia within the last 12 months. The assessment, which would be collected at the time of sale, would be used for the purposes of research, promotion and education for Georgia’s beef industry. Cattle that sell for less than $100 per head would be exempt from the assessment. The proposed assessment is separate from the National Beef Checkoff (NBC). NBC funds may only be used to promote beef meat and cannot be used to fund production management research, such as forage or animal health research, or youth programs, both of which could benefit Georgia beef producers. The funds for the Georgia Beef Commission would remain in Georgia to benefit Georgia beef producers. Under the Georgia Commodities Promotion Act, in order for the commission to be instituted, a vote or referendum of the affected producers must be held. For the referendum to be valid, at least 25 percent of the total number of producers who receive ballots must vote. For the referendum to pass, two-thirds of those who vote must vote in favor of the commission. To request a ballot, visit http://agr.georgia.gov/beef-commission.aspx. Those without access to the Internet may contact their county Farm Bureau office for assistance in signing up for a ballot. CHINA DECLINES TO APPEAL WTO POULTRY RULING IN DISPUTE WITH U.S. The World Trade Organization (WTO) has adopted an Aug. 2 dispute settlement panel report in favor of the United States in a major trade dispute with China, proving that China’s imposition of duties on U.S. chicken “broiler” products violates international trade rules. With the report now formally adopted by the WTO Dispute Settlement Body, China must bring itself into compliance with its WTO obligations. In 2009 – the year before China imposed the duties – the United States exported over 613,000 metric tons of broiler meat to China. Exports fell almost 90 percent after the imposition of the duties. On Sept. 27, 2009, China’s Ministry of Commerce (MOFCOM) initiated antidumping and countervailing investigations of imports of broiler products from the United States. Broiler products include most chicken products, with the exception of live chickens and a few other chicken products such as cooked and canned chicken. On Sept. 20, 2011, the United States requested dispute settlement consultations with China concerning the conduct and results of MOFCOM’s antidumping and countervailing duty investigations. After consultations proved unsuccessful, the United States requested that the WTO establish a panel to hear U.S. claims that China violated numerous procedural and substantive obligations under the WTO’s Antidumping Agreement and Agreement on Subsidies and Countervailing Measures.
Leadership Alert page 3 of 5 USDA ISSUES DISASTER DESIGNATION FOR 79 GEORGIA COUNTIES The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) has designated 79 counties as primary natural disaster areas due to damages and losses caused by excessive rain that began April 1, 2013, and continuing. An additional 48 counties are also eligible for assistance because their counties are contiguous. Farm operators in the following counties are not eligible: Bartow, Carroll, Catoosa, Chattahoochee, Chattooga, Cherokee, Clay, Cobb, Coweta, Dade, Douglas, Fayette, Floyd, Haralson, Harris, Heard, Lamar, Meriwether, Muscogee, Paulding, Pike, Polk, Quitman, Randolph, Richmond, Spalding, Stewart, Terrell, Troup, Walker, Webster and Whitfield. The disaster declaration makes all qualified farm operators in the designated areas 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. Additional programs available to assist farmers and ranchers include the Emergency Conservation Program, Federal Crop Insurance and the Noninsured Crop Disaster Assistance Program. Interested farmers may contact their local USDA Service Centers for further information on eligibility requirements and application procedures for these and other programs. Additional information is also available online at http://disaster.fsa.usda.gov. FEDERAL GOVERNMENT SHUTS DOWN Most interactions with the federal government ground to a halt on Oct. 1 and key legislation for farmers, including a long-term farm bill, were set aside as Congress wrangled over a continuing budget resolution. The shutdown resulted in closure of many government offices and websites, though some key functions continued. The closures will remain in effect until the House and Senate can reach an agreement on a continuing resolution. According to information provided by the American Farm Bureau Federation, the USDA’s Food Safety Inspection Service (FSIS) continued its daily inspections, though it was unclear when the inspectors would next be paid. In addition, regulatory enforcement and product testing in FSIS labs will continue. Fee-based grain and related commodity inspection under the Grain Inspection, Packers and Stockyards Administration (GIPSA) will continue, but activities funded through appropriations will not. Those include the Packer’s and Stockyard Program and the Federal Grain Inspection Service. The Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service’s (APHIS) plant protection and quarantine program, wildlife services program and veterinary service program will remain in operation because they are paid for through trust funds, user fees, reimbursable overtime, building and facilities and no-year funding. None of the programs in the USDA’s Risk Management Agency (RMA) will be operational, and only a limited number of programs in USDA Rural Development will continue. The Food and Drug Administration will continue high-risk recalls and investigations, though routine inspection activities are suspended.
Leadership Alert page 4 of 5 5TH ANNUAL LUKE BRYAN FARM TOUR Oct. 2 Perry’s Field Claxton Oct. 3 Wild Wind Farm Athens Oct. 4 Culler Farms Gaston, S.C. Oct. 5 Midway at Central City Park Macon Oct. 9 V-Plex Villa Rica Oct. 10 Ingram Farms Opelika, Ala. Oct. 11 Tallahassee Automobile Museum Tallahassee, Fla. Oct. 12 Valdosta Wake Compound Valdosta Country music artist and Lee County Farm Bureau member Luke Bryan embarks on his 2013 Farm Tour a series of concerts to benefit students from farm families. Each venue is near a university, and Bryan’s organization is sponsoring a college scholarship at each of them for a student from a farm family. A portion of the proceeds from ticket sales will fund the scholarships. Tickets go on sale to the public on July 26. For more information, visit http://www.lukebryan.com/farmtour. SUSTAINABLE AGRICULTURE CONFERENCE Oct. 3 Oconee County Civic Center 7:00 a.m. - 4:30 p.m. Watkinsville UGA Extension and the Athens Land Trust are taking registration for a Sustainable Agriculture Conference for New and Beginning Farmers. The conference will focus on farm business basics like food safety, record keeping, naturally grown and organically grown certifications, and developing markets for produce and meat. Information will be presented by Representatives from the Southern Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education Program, Fort Valley State University, Georgia Organics and the Georgia Department of Agriculture, and experts lead break-out workshops on beekeeping, food safety certifications, meat goat production, more effective composting and Farm to School programs. The cost of the daylong conference is $15. The Oconee County Civic Center is located at 2661 Hog Mountain Road in Watkinsville. For more information visit http://www.athenslandtrust.org or call the land trust at 706-613-0122 or UGA Extension at 706-613-3640. GEORGIA FARM BUREAU DISTRICT ANNUAL MEETINGS Oct. 8 9th District Mitchell County Ag Center 7 p.m. Camilla Oct. 10 1st District First Baptist Church 7 p.m. Calhoun Oct. 17 8th District South Georgia Technical Coll. 7 p.m. Americus Oct. 28 6th District Poplar Springs North Bapt. Ch. 7 p.m. Dublin th Oct. 29 4 District Greene County High School 7 p.m. Greensboro Contact your county Farm Bureau office for more information. Note: These meetings are for Farm Bureau members only and are not open to the general public. GEORGIA PECANS PIN IT TO WIN IT CONTEST The Georgia Pecan Commission is holding its Pin It To Win It contest on Pinterst. To enter, follow the commission on http://www.pinterest.com/GAPecans. Create a new board and name it “Love GA Pecans.” Pin at least five of your favorite pecan recipes and tag the commission (@GeorgiaPecans) with the hashtag #LoveGaPecans. Send a link to your board on the Georgia Pecans Facebook page (http://www.facebook.com/GeorgiaPecans). One lucky pinner will win $500. All entries must be received by 11:59 p.m. on Oct. 15. Winners will be selected at random and announced on Oct 23 on Facebook, Pinterest and Twitter.
Leadership Alert page 5 of 5 BEYOND THE FARM GATE SOCIAL MEDIA SEMINAR Oct. 22 UGA CAES Activity Center 8:45 a.m. – 5 p.m. Athens This free event, funded under a USDA Beginning Farmer & Rancher Grant, will help farmers gain the skills and knowledge they need to establish and maintain an effective online presence for their farm or ranch. To register, contact Chris Morgan at 706-542-7102 or firstname.lastname@example.org. visit http://www.depts.ttu.edu/aged/beyondthefarmgate/events.html. GA. AGRIBUSINESS COUNCIL TAKING SCHOLARSHIP APPLICATIONS The Georgia Agribusiness Council (GAC) for the William C. “Bill” Baisley “Sumpin' Big” Scholarships and the Dr. Joe B. Crane Memorial Classroom Grant program. Two Baisley Scholarship will be awarded to qualified college students or incoming college students who are majoring in an agriculture-related subject. At any accredited college or university in Georgia. Scholarship recipients will be selected by agricultural interest, leadership experience and financial need. Winners will be announced in November and publicly recognized at GAC's Harvest Celebration on Nov. 22. Applications must be postmarked by Oct. 25. The Crane Classroom Grant provides four $500 awards to Georgia educators for funding of special projects aimed at teaching agriculture in the classroom. The grants may be awarded to any Georgia teacher, public or private, regardless of grade level. Applications must be postmarked by Oct. 11 and the winners will be announced in November. To download the applications for both programs, visit http://www.ga-agribusiness.org/. GFB TAKING HAY CONTEST ENTRIES Georgia Farm Bureau members who grow Bermuda grass hay are encouraged to enter the GFB 2013 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. Nov. 1 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 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. GFB TAKING LISTINGS FOR HAY DIRECTORY GFB members with hay for sale are invited to list their farm in the 2014 GFB Quality Hay 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. Nov. 1 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. 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 1-800-342-1196 for more information.