October 4, 2017
Vol. 35 No. 20
HOUSE MEMBERS MEET WITH LABOR SECRETARY TO DISCUSS H-2A On Sept. 24 more than a dozen members of the U.S. House of Representatives, led by Georgia’s Buddy Carter (R-1st District), met with Labor Secretary Alexander Acosta to discuss ways to improve the federal H-2A migrant labor program and allow farmers and ranchers better, more consistent access to the workers they need. “I’ve always said that the American farmer feeds the nation, feeds the world. There’s no question about it,” Carter said in an interview with Georgia Farm Bureau media. “In order for the agriculture community to be strong and vibrant, we’ve got to have a strong and vibrant H-2A program. You’ve got to have workers. That’s why we wanted to meet with Sec. Acosta, so we could be assured that the workforce is there.” This spring, Georgia Farm Bureau and seven state commodity associations The next issue of wrote to the Georgia congressional delegation with a list of requested reforms GFB News Alert comes out to be made to the H-2A program; many of the items could be done through October 20. executive branch regulatory actions. The requested reforms were: • Streamline the application process farmers must go through to obtain workers. • Refine domestic recruitment requirement. Would include allowing employers to hire domestic workers until 30 days after the date of need, rather than 50 percent of the labor contract time. • Improve housing availability by allowing a housing allowance or vouchers for workers to find their own housing in the area. • Expand program eligibility and participation rules. Change the amount of time a migrant laborer can be employed from 10 months, which the DOL currently allows, to less than a year and broaden eligibility to include year-round agricultural operations like dairies. • Make the wage rates more transparent and predictable by establishing the wage rate for H-2A workers at federal minimum wage plus an additional percentage. • Provide for and encourage mediation and arbitration agreements to govern disputes between employers and workers. • Adjustment of transportation rules so that travel costs are shared equally between employer and worker; • Move the H-2A program to USDA jurisdiction. Carter and his colleagues presented a similar list to Acosta in the Sept. 26 meeting. “I think he was receptive,” Carter said. “I think he feels a little bit overwhelmed in that some of it is out of his jurisdiction and that it belongs with the USDA, which we would agree with. There are things that we can do legislatively and that we will do legislatively. They’ll take time. There are things that he can do by rule and by regulations that can be done a lot quicker. That’s what -continued on next page
GFB News Alert page 2 of 14 Continued from previous page we’re hoping.” Moving H-2A to USDA jurisdiction would have to be voted on by Congress, and Carter said funding for a transition from a paper-based application system to a computerized one would have to come through Congressional appropriation. Carter urged farmers to continue voicing their concerns about agricultural labor issues to their congressmen. “I would continue to advocate for it. I’d continue to lobby for, to call members of Congress to make sure they’re aware of what the problem is. We need to hear from them, not only in our office but especially in others, whoever their representatives are,” Carter said. GFB SUBMITS COMMENTS ON EPA’S RETOOLING OF THE WOTUS RULE On Sept. 27 Georgia Farm Bureau submitted comments to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) about the agency’s proposed changes to the “Waters of the U.S.” (WOTUS) rule issued in 2015. The EPA and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers were directed to repeal the rule and replace it under an executive order from President Donald Trump. In its comments, GFB pointed out that WOTUS runs contrary to congressional intent when the Clean Water Act (CWA) was passed and defies two Supreme Court rulings on federal jurisdiction under the CWA. “In enacting the Clean Water Act, Congress exercised its commerce power over navigation and granted EPA and the Corps limited power to regulate navigable waters,” GFB wrote. “Congress recognized and sought to preserve the states’ authority over land and water use.” The 2015 WOTUS rule, which was challenged in court by numerous states, including Georgia, ignored the limits to regulating navigable waters. “These assertions have limited the property rights of farmers and landowners across the country, which Congress explicitly sought to preserve by giving the states authority to regulate private land and water use,” GFB wrote. The 2015 rule placed non-navigable features like isolated wetlands, ephemeral drainages and isolated ponds under federal jurisdiction. GFB also took the EPA to task over its propaganda campaign, “Ditch the Myth,” to counter Farm Bureau’s “Ditch the Rule” campaign. The Government Accountability Office concluded that the EPA’s campaign was illegal. GFB praised the agencies for repealing the rule and asked that the new rule be designed with input from state and local stakeholders. GFB also asked that the new rule include a narrow definition of “navigable waters” consistent with Justice Antonin Scalia’s majority opinion in Rapanos vs. United States.
GFB News Alert page 3 of 14 GFB MEMBERS ELIGIBLE FOR DISCOUNTS ON JOHN DEERE PRODUCTS Georgia Farm Bureau is pleased to announce the launch of a new member benefit program for GFB members. GFB has partnered with John Deere to offer members discounts on the following categories of equipment: $350-$3,200 off commercial mowing; $100-$250 off residential mowing; $200-$350 off utility vehicles; $200-$350 off tractors; $500-$3,700 off golf & sports turf; 17 percent off MSRP - Commercial Worksite. The discounts are part of John Deereâ€™s GreenFleet Loyalty Rewards Program. The savings can be combined with national offers, and members can also receive special parts savings, 10 percent off Home & Workshop Products, including air compressors, generators and more, and 10 percent off apparel and accessories at JohnDeereStore.com. To access the benefits, enroll in the GreenFleet program using your GFB member number and zip code for membership verification at www.JohnDeere.com/FarmBureau. GFB members will be eligible for the Platinum 2 Level of GreenFleet Loyalty allowing for the discounts and benefits listed above. Once enrolled, they will receive a GreenFleet number and loyalty card that they can then present at John Deere dealerships to obtain the savings. Farm Bureau members who have already qualified for John Deere GreenFleet Platinum 2 status will be bumped to Platinum 3 status by aligning their GreenFleet account with Farm Bureau at www.JohnDeere.com/FarmBureau. GreenFleet Loyalty Rewards benefits are only available at John Deere dealerships. There is no minimum length of Farm Bureau membership to receive the GreenFleet benefit. Members need to sign up once for the GreenFleet Loyalty Rewards program, then renew or reactivate their GreenFleet membership approximately every two years. GreenFleet members can manage their account at MyJohnDeere.Deere.com. For full GreenFleet Terms & Conditions, visit www.JohnDeere.com/GreenFleet.
GFB News Alert page 4 of 14 $58,000 IN SCHOLARSHIPS AVAILABLE THROUGH GFB FOUNDATION FOR AG The Georgia Farm Bureau Foundation for Agriculture is committed to investing in students pursuing careers in agriculture or a related field. For 2018, the foundation is offering scholarships for college freshmen, rising college juniors and seniors, technical college students and UGA College of Veterinary Medicine students specializing in large/food animals. Visit http://bit.ly/18GFBAgFoundationscholarapps for a list of eligible majors/schools, application instructions and to apply. Applications must be submitted online by March 2. Transcripts and letters of recommendation that are mailed must be postmarked by March 2. The four scholarship categories the GFB Foundation is offering are: • Scholarship for Agriculture - Five scholarships of $3,000 & seven scholarships of $1,500 are available. Applicants must: Be a Georgia resident; be a graduating high school senior; enroll in a unit of the University System of Georgia, Berry College, Emmanuel College or any accredited college/university with an ag program during the 2018-2019 academic year; pursue an undergraduate degree in agricultural & environmental sciences, family & consumer sciences or a related ag field; have a minimum 3.0 GPA and be engaged in high school leadership activities. • Technical College Scholarship for Agriculture - Five $1,000 scholarships are available. Applicants must: Be a Georgia resident; be enrolled in a Georgia accredited technical college during the 2018-19 academic year; major in an area of study related to agriculture and have a minimum 2.8 GPA. Examples of eligible majors at http://bit.ly/AgFoundationTechschoolsmajors. • Rising College Jr./Sr. Scholarship for Agriculture - 10 scholarships of $2,000 are available. Applicants must: Be a Georgia resident majoring in agricultural & environmental sciences, family & consumer sciences or a related ag field; be a sophomore or junior with at least two semesters remaining to receive undergraduate degree at a unit of The University System of Georgia, Berry College, Emmanuel College or any accredited college/university in Georgia with an ag program; be engaged in leadership activities in college and have a minimum 3.0 GPA. • UGA College of Veterinary Medicine Scholarship - Three $2,500 scholarships are available. Applicants must: Be a Georgia resident; be a current University of Georgia veterinary medicine student specializing in large animal/food animal practice and have a minimum 3.0 GPA Questions about the scholarships should be directed to Katie Gazda at email@example.com or 478474-0679, ext. 5230.
GFB News Alert page 5 of 14 FIELD DAY GIVES TIPS FOR FENDING OFF WILDFIRE Organizers of the Firewise on the Farm Field Day held Sept. 26 at the William Harris Homestead in Walton County had one simple overriding message: Remove fuel and fire won’t happen. Executing that strategy is a matter of recognizing conditions that might contribute to the start or spread of a wildfire. “You’ve got all your hay in the barn and somebody drops a cigarette, or somebody throws a cigarette from the road,” said Frank Riley of the Chestatee/Chattahoochee Resources Conservation & Development District. “It burns through the dry grass and then you can’t put it out.” Firewise is a wildfire education program that Riley said is designed to make people aware of the dangers. It involves creating what he calls defensible space around assets being protected from wildfire, whether they are homes, farm buildings, equipment or agricultural production areas like hay fields or timber. The event, hosted in part by Walton County Farm Bureau, featured more than a dozen stations providing information on fire and outdoor safety topics, including interaction with wildlife, downed power lines and kitchen fires. The Georgia Forestry Commission’s Monroe/Walton Unit had heavy equipment on hand to underscore the necessity – from a fire-prevention perspective - of keeping them maintained. Unit Chief Rent Sanders pointed out the vented engine compartment on a bulldozer, where the ventilation holes were big enough to allow small debris into the engine compartment, providing fuel that could ignite from a spark. Sanders said farmers should take care to keep bearings on their equipment greased to prevent sparks. Before controlled burns, Sanders recommended plowing firebreaks around the fields to be burned. “Once you started controlled burning, you need to keep doing it periodically,” Sanders said, recommending burns be done every 2-3 years. Holly Campbell of the Southern Regional Extension Forestry Unit detailed a zone approach for protecting structures, whether they are homes, barns or other buildings. Zone 1, out to 30 feet from the building, should have plants that are low to the ground and have high water content. Campbell stressed that the lawn should be kept watered. Zone 2, from 30 feet to 100 feet away from the building, features clusters of shrubbery and/or widely spaced trees. Zone three is a reduced fuel zone, where flammable materials like fallen leaves are cleared away. The City of Monroe Fire Department demonstrated what happens when water is thrown onto a grease fire – a violent combustion likely to spread fire rather than put it out. The event was the first of its kind in Georgia, Riley said, noting that he would like to have similar events in all of the state’s soil and water conservation districts. “We’re here to help. I’ll come to any farm to look for anything that can be seen as risk,” Riley said.
GFB News Alert page 6 of 14 SUNBELT AG EXPO TURNS 40! The Sunbelt Agricultural Exposition is celebrating a milestone this year, marking its 40th annual show, Oct. 17-19, and Georgia Farm Bureau is proud to have been an exhibitor at each of them! “As we prepare to celebrate our 40th anniversary show we can’t help but think the founders of the show would be amazed and astounded at the size and scope of Expo today,” Chip Blalock, Sunbelt executive director said. “To put the growth into perspective, the 1978 show hosted 410 exhibitors on an estimated 25 acres. To those 23 exhibitors who were among our original exhibitors and have participated in all 40 shows, we sincerely say thank you for believing in and supporting the Sunbelt Ag Expo.” This year, more than 1,200 exhibitors will participate in the show that has grown to include a 100-acre show site and a 600-acre research farm. More than 300 educational seminars and demonstrations will be offered during the three-day event covering beef, dairy, equine, poultry and pond management along with cooking and gardening demos. An exhibit highlighting Expo’s 40 years will be displayed in the new R.W. Griffin building opening at this show on Block D-7. Griffin is recognized as Expo’s official fertilizer company along with Southern States Cooperative. The Georgia Equine Commission will also unveil its new license plate in a ceremony at the Griffin building. Sales of the vehicle tag help fund the commission. Be sure to drop by the Georgia Agriculture Building at the main gate to visit with GFB representatives to learn how Farm Bureau is representing farmers on ag issues and get info on the many member benefits your GFB membership offers. Tennessee is the Expo Spotlight State and will host an exhibit titled, “The Soundtrack of America – Made in Tennessee,” showcasing the state’s cultural diversity and ag history along with the many places and experiences the state offers. Other daily events include the antique tractor parade, American Grand Finals Stock Dog Trials and equine demonstrations. For a complete schedule of Expo events or to buy advance discount tickets, visit www.sunbeltexpo.com. Admission at the gate is $10 per person/day. Gates open at 8:30 a.m. daily. IT’S FAIR TIME! GEORGIA NATIONAL FAIR OPENS THURSDAY The Georgia National Fair, which runs Oct. 5-15, features numerous livestock competitions, and Georgia Farm Bureau (GFB) will play a huge role in supporting the livestock shows. GFB will serve as the premier livestock sponsor for the Georgia National Fairgrounds and Agricenter (GNFA) for the 2017-2018 season. GFB and the GFB Foundation for Agriculture have sponsored grand championship prizes in cattle, goats, sheep and swine competitions for years. Under the new agreement, GFB will also sponsor many other prizes given to participants in the livestock shows. The 2017 concert lineup at Reaves Arena features Brothers Osborne and Granger Smith on Oct. 7 and Trace Adkins and Chris Janson on Oct. 14. Tickets for headline concerts at Reaves Arena are $40 each and include admission to the fair. Advance tickets for the fair are $9 per person per day. Two-day passes are $16 and season passes are $65. Children under 10 will be admitted free with paid adult admission. For more information visit http://georgianationalfair.com/.
GFB News Alert page 7 of 14 FORMER GFB YF COORDINATOR SILLS JOINS GA COTTON COMMISSION Taylor Sills has joined the Georgia Cotton Commission staff as director of public affairs. Sills previously worked as the Young Farmer Coordinator at Georgia Farm Bureau. In this role, Sills coordinated activities to support, promote, and encourage young farmers within Georgia Farm Bureau. He also served GFB as a marketing specialist in the former Commodity/Marketing department, where he assisted producers in marketing grains and oilseeds as well as sourcing feed ingredients. In his new role at the Georgia Cotton Commission, Sills will develop communication, outreach, and public relations programs for both cotton growers and consumers. Sills is a native of Eatonton and received a bachelor’s degree in agriculture from the University of Georgia, where he majored in agricultural & applied economics. He also received an associate degree from Abraham Baldwin Taylor Sills Agricultural College in agribusiness & agricultural economics. While at UGA, he worked as a congressional agricultural fellow for Sen. Johnny Isakson. After graduation, Sills worked for the Georgia Federal-State Inspection Service before going to GFB. He and his wife, the former Jessica Sanders, live in Macon. INCREASING FOREIGN AG PRODUCTIVITY FOCUS OF ROUNDTABLE Sen. Johnny Isakson and Rep. Austin Scott hosted a roundtable discussion about addressing global hunger in a meeting on Sept. 21 in Tifton. The discussion, which included food security experts from a variety of non-government organizations (NGOs) and university researchers, was intended to highlight the work of Georgia’s agriculture community and begin discussions focused on the reauthorization of the Global Food Security Act in 2018. Isakson, a member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, said foreign aid programs are politically easy targets for spending reductions but noted that U.S. expenditures on foreign aid represent a solid investment of taxpayers’ money. “On the foreign relations committee, I’ve come to learn how important for the future strength of our country and future peace in the world it is for us to be occasionally involved in the problems of the world, and hunger is one of the big ones. Food security is critically important,” Isakson said. Much of the discussion centered on coupling humanitarian food shipments with sharing U.S. agriculture production knowledge, allowing people in less-developed countries to learn how to feed themselves and achieve economic growth. Matt Moore, director of strategic initiatives with the U.S. Global Leadership Coalition, told the story of a farmer in Tanzania who in 10 years has increased his corn yield six-fold. “Instead of just growing enough corn to feed his family, he can now grow enough corn to send to market, and that means that now he can afford to send his daughter to school. Now he can afford a metal roof for his house,” Moore said. UGA Professor of Agriculture and Applied Economics Greg Fonsah emphasized the seriousness of food security issues in sub-Saharan Africa, the location of many of the least agriculturally productive countries in the world. Fonsah said more emphasis in the Global Food Security Act should be placed on sharing of research because these countries cannot feed themselves now and as their populations grow accessibility of food will become a much greater concern. “Our target should be to increase productivity,” Fonsah said. “When we are talking about food security, we are coming to, really, a catastrophic situation.“
GFB News Alert page 8 of 14 GA EPD EASES WATERING LIMITS, STRESSES YEAR-ROUND CONSERVATION The Georgia Environmental Protection Division (EPD) is easing outdoor water use restrictions in 55 counties including metropolitan Atlanta, but noted that state law requires some statewide outdoor watering limits year-round. “Substantial rainfall over the past few months has led to significant improvement in streamflows and reservoir levels” said EPD Director Richard Dunn. The state’s most recent Level 2 Drought Response has focused on Lake Lanier and its tributaries because they serve as water supply to much of metro Atlanta. Lake Lanier is a federal reservoir and as such, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers manages its water levels. “Due to effective river basin management and above average rainfall, Lake Lanier water levels are up five feet since the start of the year,” Dunn said EPD. “It is typically dry in the fall, but we expect the lake to continue to refill during the winter. As drought recovery continues, we urge citizens to be good stewards of our water resources.” Those counties moving from a Level 2 Drought Response to a Level 1 Drought Response are Cobb, Coweta, Dekalb, Douglas, Forsyth, Fulton, Gwinnett, Habersham, Hall, Lumpkin, Paulding and White counties. EPD had already lifted Level 2 restrictions in the remainder of the state. A Level 1 Drought Response requires permitted public water systems to conduct a public information campaign to explain drought conditions and the need to conserve water. This decision cancels the Level 2 Drought Response watering schedule that limited landscape watering to two days per week based on odd-even address numbers. It also prohibited other types of water use including non-commercial vehicle washing and pressure washing. In addition, a Level 1 Drought Response has been lifted in the following Georgia counties: Athens-Clarke, Banks, Barrow, Bartow, Butts, Carroll, Chattooga, Cherokee, Clayton, Dawson, Elbert, Fayette, Floyd, Franklin, Gordon, Greene, Haralson, Harris, Hart, Heard, Henry, Jackson, Jasper, Lamar, Madison, Meriwether, Monroe, Morgan, Newton, Oconee, Oglethorpe, Pickens, Pike, Putnam, Rockdale, Spalding, Stephens, Talbot, Taliaferro, Troup, Upson, Walton and Wilkes counties. Georgians must still follow the non-drought outdoor water use schedule required in the Water Stewardship Act of 2010. This law allows all types of outdoor water use, but landscape watering only before 10 a.m. and after 4 p.m. daily. This is done to limit evaporation during the warmest part of the day. For more information about water conservation and drought visit https://epd.georgia.gov/waterconservation.
GFB News Alert page 9 of 14 FORMER WASHINGTON COUNTY FARM BUREAU PRESIDENT DUKES DIES Thomas Murray Dukes Sr., who served as Washington County Farm Bureau president in 1959 and 1960 and again from 1993-1996, died on Sept. 28. He was 87. A lifetime resident of Washington County, Dukes was a retired farmer and a veteran of the U.S. Navy, having served on the U.S. Tingey for four years during the Korean War. He was a graduate of Sandersville High School and attended GA-AL Business School. He was a popular community leader, having served as President of Riddleville Farm Bureau and Washington County Farm Bureau. He was an Farmers Home Administration board member for many years, was a director and president of Georgia Foundation Seeds; and was a director of Georgia Crop Improvement Association. He was a manager of the local stock barn and part owner/manager of Murphy & Palmer Seeds, Inc. He was the son of the late Levie Thomas Dukes and Lena Sessions Dukes, who lived in the Pleasant Springs Community near Riddleville. He was preceded in death by his wife, Sara Taylor Dukes, brother, J.H. Dukes, sister, Hazel Dukes Roberts of Gray, and a niece, Lucille Dukes Salter of Bartow. Thomas Dukes Sr. Survivors include his son, Thomas M. Dukes Jr. and his wife Gena; daughters, Sandra D. Avant and her husband David of Deepstep and Myra L. Dukes of Denver, Co.; granddaughters, Erica D. Hopkins and her husband Clint, Ashley Dukes, Chelsea A. Dasinger and her husband Jason, April A. Cook and her husband David, and Cassie Avant; six great grandchildren and three nephews. Donations may be made to Bartow Baptist Church, P.O. Box 118, Bartow, GA. 30413; Brentwood School, P.O. Box 955, Sandersville, GA. 31082; Bartow City Cemetery, 7420 Church Street, Bartow, Ga. 30413; Washington County Historical Society, P.O. Box 6088, Sandersville, GA. 31082; or the charity of your choice.
GFB News Alert page 10 of 14 GEORGIA FARM TO SCHOOL SUMMIT Oct. 5 & 6 Helms College Augusta The Farm to School Summit connects schools, early care centers, and local farms and distributors to serve and champion healthy, local meals in cafeterias, improve student nutrition, and increase farm and gardening educational opportunities. This year’s summit welcomes farmers, teachers, early care educators and administrators, school nutrition staff, students, parents, and others interested in learning more about Georgia’s farm to school movement. Highlights include the opening keynote address from national farm to school leader Betti Wiggins of Detroit Public Schools, closing keynote address from Burke County School Nutrition Director and Presidentelect of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics Donna Martin, workshops, educational sessions and networking. For more information visit http://bit.ly/farmtoschoolsummit. ASA DUPONT YOUNG LEADER PROGRAM Oct. 6 deadline to apply Applications are being accepted for the ASA DuPont Young Leader program, a challenging and educational two-part training program. Phase I of the 2017–18 program will take place at the DuPont Pioneer headquarters in Johnston, Iowa, Nov. 28–30. The program continues Feb. 25–28, 2018 in Anaheim, California, in conjunction with the annual Commodity Classic Convention and Trade Show. Soybean grower couples and individuals are encouraged to apply for the program which focuses on leadership and communication, the latest agricultural information and the development of a strong peer network. To apply, visit https://soygrowers.com/learn/young-leaderprogram-application/. GFB ACCEPTING APPLICATIONS FOR AITC TEACHER OF THE YEAR Oct. 13 deadline to apply Georgia Farm Bureau is accepting applications for the Georgia Agriculture in the Classroom 2017 Teacher of the Year Award, which recognizes outstanding teachers who actively engage students in learning about agriculture. Certified teachers currently using agricultural concepts in nonvocational agriculture classroom settings at the pre-K through 12th-grade levels are eligible. A panel of judges will select the winner, who will receive a $500 cash award and a trip to the National Agriculture in the Classroom Conference, which will be held June 26-29, 2018, in Portland, Maine. The award will be presented during the Celebrating Ag Literacy event on Dec. 3 at the GFB Convention on Jekyll Island. Applications and complete criteria and instructions are available online at http://www.gfbfoundation.org/aitc_teacher.html, and must be submitted to GFB Ag in the Classroom Coordinator Donna Rocker by email at firstname.lastname@example.org. Rocker may be contacted at that email address or by phone at 478-474-0679 ext. 5365 for more information. PEST MANAGER TRAINING Nov. 3 St. Simons Island Casino 9 a.m. – 4 p.m. St. Simons Island Certified pesticide applicators, arborists and others can enjoy the beach and earn recertification credits at the Pest Manager Training. Attendees can earn many types of recertification credits – GA, FL and SC Pesticide Applicator, ISA Arborist CEUs, Society of American Forester CFEs and Certified Crop Advisor CEUs. Register online, see an agenda or find more information at https://stsimonspmt.eventbrite.com. The registration fee is $69 until, Oct. 26 and $75
afterward. For more information contact Willie Chance at email@example.com or (478) 9729981.
GFB News Alert page 11 of 14 2017 GFB HAY CONTEST Oct. 31 deadline to enter Georgia Farm Bureau (GFB) members who grow Bermudagrass hay are encouraged to enter the GFB 2017 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. Producers may enter more than one sample in the contest. There is a $20 entry fee for each sample entered in the contest to cover lab costs. Applications and instructions for submitting samples are available at county Farm Bureau offices or may be downloaded at the GFB website http://www.gfb.org/commodities/hay_contest.html. Checks to cover the entry fee should be made payable to Georgia Farm Bureau. Entry forms and samples should be sent to the GFB Public Policy Department, Agricultural Programs, 1620 Bass Road Macon, Ga., 31210. The deadline to enter is Oct. 31. The first-place prize is free use of a Vermeer 504R Signature Baler for one year courtesy of Vermeer. MONSANTO’S AMERICA’S FARMERS GROW COMMUNITIES PROGRAM Nov. 1 deadline to apply Farmers in 34 Georgia counties have until 6 p.m. Nov. 1 to register a charity of their choice in their county to win $2,500 in the America’s Farmers Grow Communities program. 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, Randolph, Screven, Seminole, Sumter, Tattnall, Terrell, Thomas, Tift, Turner, Wilcox and Worth. There were at least 30,000 acres of corn, soybeans, cotton and/or vegetables planted in these counties in 2016. The program is open to farmers, age 21 and older in eligible counties, actively farming a minimum of 250 acres. No purchase needed to win. Farmers who meet the age and crop eligibility requirements but who do not live in an eligible county may also enter the contest. Five entries from this pool of entrants will be selected to designate a $2,500 donation to the eligible charity of their choice. Charities must have IRS 501©3) tax-exempt status or be a unit of government under Section 170(c)(1). Suggested charities are local 4-H or FFA programs, fire departments, hospitals, libraries or schools. For more information or to apply, visit www.growcommunities.com or call 1-877-267-3332 to apply. SMALL FARM CONFERENCE Nov. 13-14 Unicoi State Park Helen The Chestatee-Chattahoochee Resource Conservation and District in partnership with the Georgia Soil & Water Conservation Commission and Natural Resources Conservation Service will host this conference to educate farmers with small-scale operations on ways to improve their operations and make them run more efficiently. The two-day conference will feature general sessions that will cover major agricultural topics, as well as breakout sessions that will cover unique topics of interest to small farming operations. Registration for the conference is $220 per person; however, through sponsorship from the Chestatee-Chattahoochee RC&D, the first 120 people to reserve a spot will receive a fully-paid scholarship for the event. Registration must be received by Nov. 6. For more information, and to register for the event, contact the Georgia Soil and Water
Conservation Commission in Athens at 706-552-4470.
GFB News Alert page 12 of 14 AG LABOR RELATIONS FORUM Nov. 7 & 8 UGA Tifton Campus Conference Center Tifton Georgia Farm Bureau and other ag organizations are collaborating with the Georgia Fruit & Vegetable Growers Association (GFVGA) to host this forum, designed to help farmers and ag business owners comply with existing labor laws and policies. The forum will be relevant to all commodities that rely on labor. The target audience is farmers, farm office managers and personnel responsible for monitoring rules and regulations for their organizations. Leading labor attorneys and human resource specialists will teach the sessions. For more information or to register visit www.georgiaaglaborforum.com or call the GFVGA at 706-845-8200. GEORGIA FARM BUREAU DISTRICT ANNUAL MEETING Nov. 13 7th District First Baptist Church 7 p.m. Statesboro Meeting begins at 7 p.m. Contact your county Farm Bureau office for more information. Note: This meeting is for Farm Bureau members only is are not open to the general public. ENVIRONMENTAL QUALITY INCENTIVES PROGRAM Nov. 17 deadline to apply for FY 2018 The Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) is accepting applications for fiscal year 2018 http://bit.ly/18EQIPsignup. While producers can apply year round, this application cutoff announcement is for all general EQIP, as well as some special initiatives like the Longleaf Pine, On-Farm Energy, Organic, Seasonal High tunnel, Working Lands for Wildlife and the North Georgia Irrigation Pilot projects. Farmers who wish to apply should visit their local USDA Service Center. EQIP provides technical and financial assistance to landowners to voluntarily address soil, water and other natural resource concerns on private lands. For more information on NRCS conservation programs visit http://www.ga.nrcs.usda.gov under the Programs tab. DAIRY MARGIN PROTECTION PROGRAM ENROLLMENT Dec. 15 deadline for enrollment The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Farm Service Agency (FSA) is accepting applications from dairy producers for 2018 coverage in the Margin Protection Program (MPPDairy). The USDA has utilized additional flexibility this year by providing dairy producers the option of opting out of the program for 2018. To opt out, a producer should not sign up during the annual registration period. By opting out, a producer would not receive any MPP-Dairy benefits if payments are triggered for 2018. Full details will be included in a subsequent Federal Register Notice. The decision would be for 2018 only and is not retroactive. The voluntary program, established by the 2014 Farm Bill, provides financial assistance to participating dairy producers when the margin - the difference between the price of milk and feed costs - falls below the coverage level selected by the producer. USDA has a web tool to help producers determine the level of coverage under the MPP-Dairy that will provide them with the strongest safety net under a variety of conditions. The online resource, available at www.fsa.usda.gov/mpptool, allows dairy farmers to quickly and easily combine unique operation data and other key variables to calculate their coverage needs based on price projections. Producers can also review historical data or estimate future coverage based on data projections. The secure site can be accessed via computer, Smartphone, tablet or any other platform, 24 hours a day, seven days a week. For more
information, visit FSA online at www.fsa.usda.gov/dairy or stop by a local FSA office to learn more about the MPP-Dairy. To find a local FSA office in your area, visit http://offices.usda.gov.
GFB News Alert page 13 of 14 GFB TAKING LISTINGS FOR HAY DIRECTORY Farm Bureau members with hay for sale or offering custom harvesting or custom sprigging services are invited to list in the 2017/18 GFB Quality Hay Directory published on the GFB website. Because this directory is now offered exclusively online, hay can be listed or removed from the site as your inventory dictates. To participate, please complete a submission form available at your county Farm Bureau office or online at www.gfb.org/hay. Please include a $10 check made payable to Georgia Farm Bureau for each listing of hay, custom harvesting or custom sprigging. Multiple listings are allowed. FARM BUREAU-AFFILIATED FARMERS MARKETS CANTON FARMERS MARKET Through Oct. 28 Saturdays 9 a.m.-1 p.m., Cannon Park Canton This market features 100 percent GA Grown produce and handcrafted items. Cherokee County Farm Bureau will hold an event once a month at the market promoting watermelon day, apple day, peach day etc. COBB COUNTY FARM BUREAU FARMERS MARKET Tuesdays 3 p.m.-7 p.m. Lost Mountain Park Powder Springs Cobb County Farm Bureau (CCFB) in cooperation with Cobb County Parks & Recreation is hosting this farmers market. CCFB is offering vendor space to farmers, growers and producers in Cobb and surrounding counties, with the goal of offering locally grown food to the community. Each vendor must be a Farm Bureau member. Vendor fees are only $5 per week, with a discount for paying in full for the entire market season. For more information contact firstname.lastname@example.org or Debbie Payne at email@example.com or 770-9433531. MONROE FARMERS MARKET Saturdays until Oct. 7 8:30 a.m. – 12:30 p.m. Court Street, Downtown Monroe This market, sponsored in part by Walton County Farm Bureau, features fresh produce and goods from local farmers, work from local artisans and family friendly activities. For more information visit www.monroedowntownfarmersmarket.com ROCKDALE/DEKALB FARM BUREAU FARMERS MARKET Tuesdays & Saturdays 8 a.m. – noon, RDCFB office Conyers The Rockdale/DeKalb Farm Bureau Farmers Market will be held at 1400 Parker Rd. SE in Conyers. The public is invited to stop by and shop for fresh, locally grown vegetables, dairy products, crafts and more. The market is expected to run into late summer or early fall when produce production ends. For more information contact the Rockdale/DeKalb County Farm Bureau office at 770-922-3566.
GFB News Alert page 14 of 14 SHIELDS-ETHRIDGE HERITAGE FARM CULTIVATORS MARKET Oct. 21 9 a.m. – 1 p.m. 2355 Ethridge Rd. Jefferson Jackson County Farm Bureau (JCFB) sponsors this open-air market that features local farmers and entrepreneurs selling products they make or grow in a festival atmosphere. Market 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 firstname.lastname@example.org or call 706-367-8877 or visit www.shieldsethridgefarminc.com to complete an application online. UNION COUNTY FARMERS MARKET Tuesdays 2 p.m. – 6 p.m. Saturdays 7 a.m. – 1 p.m., 148 Old Smokey Road Blairsville The public is welcome to shop for fresh, locally grown vegetables from local farmers. For more information contact Mickey Cummings or Kristy Peney at 706-781-8802 or visit www.ucfarmersmarket.com. Union County Farm Bureau will sponsor a tractor show at the market Labor Day weekend.
Published on Oct 4, 2017
In this week's GFB News Alert... $58,000 in scholarships are now available through the GFB Foundation for Agriculture, members of the U.S....