October 31, 2012
Vol. 30 No. 44
U.S.-PANAMA FREE TRADE AGREEMENT TAKES EFFECT The United States-Panama Free Trade Agreement (FTA) takes effect on Oct. 31, following what the offices of United States Trade Representative (USTR) Ron Kirk called a thorough review of laws related to the FTA’s implementation by both countries. The Panama FTA will eliminate tariffs and other barriers to U.S. exports to Panama. The Panama FTA is the third of three key international trade agreements to take effect, following those with South Korea and Colombia. “Panama is one of the fastest-growing economies in Latin America, expanding 10.6 percent in 2011, wh forecasts of between five to eight percent annual growth through 2017. That adds up to support for more well-paying jobs across the United States,” said Kirk. “The increased access to this expanding market is backed by the agreement’s strong enforcement provisions.” According to a USTR press release, the FTA calls for Panama to immediately reduce or eliminate tariffs on U.S. industrial goods, and more than 86 percent of U.S. exports of consumer and industrial products to Panama become duty-free immediately, including agricultural equipment and fertilizers. Nearly half of U.S. exports of agricultural commodities to Panama immediately become dutyfree, including wheat, soybeans, beef, bacon and almost all fruit and vegetable products. The U.S. exported more than $53 million in soybean products to Panama last year and $65 million in 2010, according to the American Soybean Association. In a related development, U.S. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack has urged Congress to reinstate funding for a foreign marketing program that expired on Oct. 1. Meanwhile, Canada and Mexico have joined the U.S. as part of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) Agreement negotiations. The TPP is a proposed international trade framework involving 11 countries, including China, South Korea and Japan. The U.S. supported Mexico’s inclusion in the TPP talks unconditionally, but key U.S. agricultural organizations want concessions from Canada. In early October, a group of 49 congressmen sent a letter to Kirk asking that Canada’s barriers to imports of U.S. poultry and dairy products be subject to the negotiations. The U.S. exported $290 in poultry products to Canada in 2011, but Canada’s import protection policies limit how much U.S. poultry is sold there. The National Chicken Council and the U.S. Poultry and Egg Export Council contend that this is a violation of the North American Free Trade Agreement, and both organizations opposed Canada’s inclusion in the TPP without Canada lifting the poultry import restrictions.
Leadership Alert page 2 of 6 AFBF UNVEILS PROPOSAL FOR FARM VISA PROGRAM The American Farm Bureau Federation has fashioned a legislative proposal to address immigration reform by establishing an “ag card” for undocumented workers currently in the U.S., setting up a temporary agricultural work program and retaining the current H-2A program. The proposal, which is not part of any current legislation, is intended to bring unification to Farm Bureau’s diverse membership of growers in all sectors and regions as Congress moves forward on any immigration debate. “It’s vitally important for our farmers to have reliable access to a legal workforce,” said Georgia Farm Bureau President Zippy Duvall. “This proposal would address many of the most difficult barriers farmers face in securing the workers they need to plant and harvest their crops.” The proposal, which was unanimously approved by the AFBF Board of Directors, is compatible with Georgia Farm Bureau policy. The ag card provision would allow undocumented workers who have agricultural work experience and currently reside in the country to obtain work authorization to continue to work in agriculture. The proposal would make the visas renewable every five years. The temporary worker portion of the proposal has provisions for contract workers and noncontract workers. The contract temporary worker visa would allow workers to work exclusively with one employer registered with the USDA for up to 12 months. They would be required to return home for 30 days over the course of three years. during the year. The non-contract worker temporary worker visa outlined in the proposal would grant seasonal work authorization good for up to 11 months after accepting an offer of work with a USDA registered employer. The worker would be hired at-will and is able to move to another registered employer at any time. He or she would be required to return home for 30 days in a 12-month period. during the course of the 11-month period. SOUTHWEST GEORGIA ETHANOL IMPLEMENTS TEMPORARY SHUTDOWN Southwest Georgia Ethanol has temporarily idled production at its ethanol facility located in Mitchell County, according to a company press release, because of market conditions which resulted from the drought in the Midwest. The poor Midwest harvest led to an increase in corn prices. The Midwest drought has also influenced quality issues with corn including uncertain aflatoxin levels. The release said SWGE modeled all possible scenarios of slowing production and deemed it in SWGE’s best financial interest to idle production until the markets return to levels conducive to profits. The company said it has sufficient financial liquidity to maintain necessary expenses and payroll. SWGE has funding to cover these expenses until the 2013 corn harvest if necessary, but will be ready to ramp up production earlier with the proper market opportunities. In anticipation of going back into full production at or before next year’s local harvest, SWGE is writing contracts for local 2013 corn and is accepting grain sorghum that was planted for SWGE. SWGE is currently handling repairs and maintenance items that would normally be performed during semi-annual shutdowns.
Leadership Alert page 3 of 6 GFB 2ND DISTRICT SUPPORTS YOUTH WITH ANNUAL CATTLE SHOW Legends of the Fall was the theme of the 4th Annual GFB 2nd District Young Farmer Steer and Heifer Show held Oct. 20 at the White County Agricenter in Cleveland, Ga. About 250 people attended the event designed to help cattle exhibitors keep their showmanship skills sharp between the Georgia National Fair and December shows. The district also uses the event to promote Farm Bureau membership and the GFB Young Farmer program in hopes of encouraging the students to get involved with their county Young Farmer Committees when they turn 18. Each of the students who competed in the show received a GFB membership brochure, GFB Young Farmer calendar and a souvenir t-shirt designed by Franklin County Young Farmer Heather Cabe. The prizes for the show awards were funded by donations from 2nd District county Farm Bureaus, county presidents and insurance agents. Logan Clark of Hall County won the Supreme Grand Champion Heifer award of $300 with a Simmental-Angus heifer. Wyatt Chandler of Jackson County won the Grand Champion Steer prize of $300 with a Charolais steer. Tyler Arnold of Madison County won the Supreme Reserve Champion Heifer award of $200 with a Chi-influenced heifer. Arnold also won the Reserve Champion Steer prize of $200. Madison Westmoreland of White County won the 12th Grade Showmanship Award with her Simmental-cross heifer. Other showmanship winners were as follows: 11th Grade - Adam Floyd, Franklin County; 10th Grade - Austin Rose, Stephens County; 9th Grade - Logan Clark, Hall County; 8th Grade - Daniel Dobbs, Franklin County; 7th Grade - Janna Anderson, Elbert County; 6th Grade - Kayley Edwards, Jackson County; 5th Grade - Ellie Clark, Hall County; 4th Grade & Under - Payton Jackson, Banks County. In registered heifer classes, winners were: Angus Champion - Macy Seagraves, Jackson County; Angus Reserve Champion - Jessi Bell, Jackson County; Simmental Champion - Austin Rose, Stephens County; Simmental Reserve Champion - Macy Seagraves, Jackson County; % Simmental Champion - Logan Clark, Hall County; % Simmental Reserve Champion - Adam Floyd, Franklin County; Other Breeds Champion - Tyler Arnold, Madison County and Other Breeds Reserve - Hannah Barrett, Lumpkin County. Chyanne Pope of Habersham County showed the Commercial Heifer Champion and Katelyn Fordham of Jackson County showed the reserve champion. 2012 GEORGIA NATIONAL FAIR DRAWS SECOND-BEST ATTENDANCE Capitalizing on beautiful fall weather, the Georgia National Fair had its second-best attendance year in 2012, drawing 445,395 patrons during its 11-day run. Members of the Georgia General Assembly competed in the 2nd Annual Legislative Livestock Showdown at the Georgia National Fair on Oct. 6. Legislators were paired with a 4-H or FFA member who gave them a crash course on showing cattle. Georgia House Democratic Minority Leader Stacey Abrams led the House team to victory during the 2nd Annual Legislative Livestock Showdown at the Georgia National Fair on Oct. 6. Abrams won grand champion during the competition and teammate Rep. Amy Carter won reserve champion. The 2013 fair, scheduled for Oct. 3-13, will have the theme, “There’s Magic in the Fair!”
Leadership Alert page 4 of 6 GEORGIA FARM BUREAU DISTRICT ANNUAL MEETINGS 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 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 HARVEST FOR ALL CAMPAIGN UNDER WAY For the eighth year, Georgia Farm Bureau is conducting its Harvest for All campaign to help alleviate hunger in our state. Each year the GFB Young Farmer Committee works with the Georgia Food Bank Association and its seven affiliate food banks located across Georgia to provide food for Georgians in need. Since 2004, GFB has coordinated seven Harvest For All campaigns through which GFB members across the state donated about 49,000 pounds of staple food items and more than $60,000 in cash donations distributed to the food banks located throughout Georgia affiliated with Feeding America. For the third consecutive year, the campaign is focused on raising money for Georgiaâ€™s food banks because they have the ability to stretch each donated dollar into approximately four meals. For every $50 donated, 200 meals can be placed on tables around our state! To donate to this campaign, please stop by your county Farm Bureau office. The deadline to donate is Nov. 2. NRCS ACCEPTING EQIP APPLICATIONS Applications for Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP) applications are due by Nov. 2 to be considered for funding in fiscal year 2013. Applications can be taken at all NRCS offices and USDA Service Centers. EQIP is a voluntary program that funds conservation practices based on state identified natural resource concerns, such as forestry, grazing, soil erosion, water conservation and water quality. There are about 60 EQIP conservation practices including, but not limited to: pasture and hayland planting, heavy use areas, waste storage facilities, terracing, pest management, tree planting, organic crop assistance, and wildlife habitat management. This list will vary based on locally prioritized conservation practices. EQIP provides technical and financial assistance to landowners to voluntarily address soil, water and related natural resource concerns on private lands. Conservation plans must be developed for the entire area that will be included in the EQIP contract. More information on NRCS conservation programs can be found at http://www.ga.nrcs.usda.gov/ under programs.
Leadership Alert page 5 of 6 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. 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 firstname.lastname@example.org. 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. Comments are due by Nov. 13 via email at email@example.com 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 firstname.lastname@example.org. 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.
Leadership Alert page 6 of 6 G WATER PERMIT SUSPENSION MEETINGS Dec. 4 Mitchell County Ag Building Camilla Dec. 12 Terrell Co. Govt. Building Dawson The Georgia Environmental Protection Division announced July 30 it has suspended issuing new applications for ag water withdrawal permits for a 24-county area in the lower Flint and Chattahoochee River basins, which includes all or part of Baker, Calhoun, Colquitt, Crisp, Decatur, Dooly, Dougherty, Early, Grady, Lee, Miller, Mitchell, Seminole, Sumter, Terrell, Turner and Worth counties. EPD is also suspending issuance of new ag surface water withdrawal permits for parts of Calhoun, Chattahoochee, Clay, Early, Marion, Randolph, Schley, Stewart, Sumter, Terrell and Webster counties. Permit applications received by July 30 will be considered. The suspension will be re-evaluated annually beginning in November 2013. The UGA Cooperative Extension is hosting these meetings to discuss why EPD suspended issuing permits, how farmers can conserve water and the future of ag water permits. Registration for both meetings begins at 8:30 a.m. with the meeting starting at 9 a.m. and running until noon. There is no registration fee, but attendees are asked to RSVP by calling 229-386-3377 to ensure there is adequate meeting space. 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/. 2013 AG FORECAST MEETINGS Jan. 25 Ga. Center for Continuing Education Athens Jan. 28 ECO Center Rome Jan. 29 Georgia Farm Bureau Macon Jan. 30 UGA Tifton Campus Conference Center Tifton Jan. 31 Decatur Co. Livestock Complex Bainbridge Feb. 1 Toombs Co. Agri-Center Lyons UGA economists will give the 2013 ag economic outlook and guest speakers will discuss international trade and how the global economy impacts local businesses. Check-in for all sessions, except Tifton, begins at 9:30 a.m. Seminars run from 10 a.m. to noon followed by lunch. The Tifton event is a breakfast that runs from 7:30 a.m to 10 a.m. Cost is $30 per person or $200 for a table sponsorship, which includes eight seats. Advance registration is required by January 23. Registration opens Nov. 1. For more information or to register, visit http://www.georgiaagforecast.com call 706-583-0347 or email email@example.com. These eetings are a UGA College of Agricultural & Environmental Sciences program endowed by Georgia Farm Bureau and supported by the Georgia Dept. of Agriculture and Georgia Agribusiness Council.