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September 21, 2016

Vol. 34 No. 31

GA REVENUE DEPT. PROVIDES GUIDANCE ON SALES TAX COLLECTION The Georgia Department of Revenue (DOR) has issued a notice to growers providing guidelines to follow in order to comply with sales tax rules. Growers are required to collect sales tax when they sell directly to the public through roadside stands or farmers markets. Most direct-to-public sales are Look for exempt from the 4 percent state tax, but are not exempt from local option taxes. the next By Dec. 30, Growers selling to the public are required to register with the issue of DOR and get a Sales and Use Tax account number. This can be done online at GFB News, where users can set up a username and password, Alert on register for the account number and file up to 36 months of returns. Businesses October 5. unable to pay in full may apply for a payment plan. . Growers who are already registered but have not been paying the correct tax should go to the website and file for amended returns for periods during which tax was underpaid, up to 36 months. This should also be done by Dec. 30. Growers should also send an email to the Department of Revenue ( notifying the department they are a local grower. Growers selling directly to the public could be selected for audits if they do not file and pay the correct taxes by Dec. 30; audits may cover periods of time older than 36 months. The DOR has a series of online training videos for the most common Georgia Tax Center actions: • Visit to register for Sales and Use Tax account number; • Visit to create a GTC logon; • Visit to file a simple sales and use tax return; • Visit to amend a sales and use tax return; • Visit to make a payment; • Visit to request an installment payment plan quote. Those with questions should call the Department of Revenue at 912-389-4079 or send an email to Georgia Farm Bureau has published a resource guide to assist farmers who sell directly to consumers. The GFB resource guide can be accessed at

GFB News Alert page 2 of 10 GEORGIA CONGRESSMEN RECEIVE FRIEND OF FARM BUREAU AWARDS Thirteen members of Georgia’s U.S. Congressional Delegation are recipients of the Friend of Farm Bureau Award recently announced by the American Farm Bureau Federation (AFBF). AFBF gives the award at the end of each Congress to legislators who have at least a 60 percent voting record in agreement with AFBF on priority issues. Georgia legislators receiving the award are: Sens. Johnny Isakson and David Perdue and Reps. Rick Allen, Sanford Bishop, Buddy Carter, Doug Collins, Tom Graves, Jody Hice, Barry Loudermilk, Tom Price, Austin Scott, Lynn Westmoreland and Rob Woodall. Perdue, serving his first term in the U.S. Senate, is a member of the Senate Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry Committee. Allen and Scott serve on the House Agriculture Committee, where Scott chairs the Subcommittee on Commodity Exchanges, Energy and Credit. Bishop serves on the House Appropriations Subcommittee in Agriculture, Rural Development, Food and Drug Administration and Related Agencies. Hice is a member of the House Committee on Natural Resources. In awarding the Friend of Farm Bureau Award, AFBF considered the votes legislators cast on legislation pertaining to food security and safety, regulatory reform, technology and trade. The AFBF Board of Directors, on which Georgia Farm Bureau President Gerald Long serves, established these priority issues. “We’re extremely grateful for the support we receive from our members of Congress, which is essential to the continued success of Georgia farmers,” Long said. “These members voted with Farm Bureau’s position on numerous key agricultural issues during the 114th Congress.” MORE GA COUNTIES RECEIVE DISASTER DESIGNATION DUE TO DROUGHT In a disaster declaration issued on Sept. 16, Lincoln and Wilkes counties received designation from the USDA as primary natural disaster areas due to losses caused by a recent drought. Farmers and ranchers in Columbia, Elbert, McDuffie, Oglethorpe, Taliaferro and Warren counties qualified for USDA disaster assistance because they are contiguous to a county that is a primary disaster area. In a declaration on Sept. 8, Columbia and Richmond counties were also named contiguous counties. Farmers in counties named either primary disaster areas or contiguous counties are eligible for low interest emergency (EM) loans from USDA’s Farm Service Agency (FSA), provided eligibility requirements are met. Farmers in eligible counties have eight months from the date of the declaration to apply for loans to help cover part of their actual losses. FSA will consider each loan application on its own merits, taking into account the extent of losses, security available and repayment ability. FSA has a variety of programs, in addition to the EM loan program, to help eligible farmers recover from adversity. Other FSA programs that can provide assistance, but do not require a disaster declaration, include the Emergency Conservation Program, the Livestock Forage Disaster Program, the Livestock Indemnity Program, the Emergency Assistance for Livestock Program, Honeybees and Farm-Raised Fish Program and the Tree Assistance Program. Interested farmers may contact their local USDA Service Centers for more information on eligibility requirements and application procedures for these and other programs. Additional information is also available online at

GFB News Alert page 3 of 10 GA DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE TO HOST CLEAN DAY EVENT The Georgia Department of Agriculture is hosting Georgia Clean Day, a free program that allows pesticide applicators to safely dispose of old, unusable or cancelled pesticides. This event is open to all private and commercial applicators with the understanding that the event is designed for farmers and lawn care, golf course and pest control companies in Crisp and surrounding Georgia counties. The 2016 Georgia Clean Day is Sept. 30 at the Cordele State Farmers Market from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Some pesticides that have been used in the past are now in need of proper disposal. Pesticides in leaking containers or those that have been disposed of improperly may cause environmental damage by contaminating water supplies or harming people and wildlife. State and federal laws make it illegal to burn, bury or dump pesticides in conventional landfills. Georgia Clean Day is a program to help dispose of old, unusable or cancelled pesticides safely with a hazardous waste contractor. According to the Georgia Department of Agriculture, Georgia Clean Days are the best way to dispose of unusable pesticides. Other forms of disposal can be costly and often force growers to dispose of pesticides illegally or keep them until a better disposal method is created. In response to environmental concerns, the Georgia Legislature passed a bill to help facilitate the collection of unusable pesticides. Since the start of Georgia Clean Days in 1994, more than 1 million pounds of pesticides have been collected for disposal. The Georgia Department of Agriculture requires preregistration for this event. Registration forms should be returned to Ricky Hayes, Georgia Clean Day waste disposal coordinator, by Sept. 26. For more information, contact your local University of Georgia Cooperative Extension agent or Ricky Hayes at You can also visit USDA TO MEASURE GEORGIA VEGETABLE CHEMICAL USAGE Beginning Oct. 3, interviewers from the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS) will visit 75 of Georgia’s vegetable growers in order to gather information for the Vegetable Chemical Use Survey, according to a NASS press release. The survey will collect information on pesticides and fertilizers used, acres treated and rates applied to more than 7 vegetable crops. In addition to Georgia, vegetable growers in 18 other states will also hear from NASS, as the agency collects comprehensive U.S. vegetable production practices information. “Participation in the Vegetable Chemical Use Survey is vital to all participants in this key agricultural sector,” said NASS Southern Region Director Jim Ewing. “Responses from vegetable growers will help ensure that chemicals critical to crop production remain available on the market.” NASS is also asking questions about growers’ microbial food safety practices. The results of this survey will help inform food safety policies with accurate data on pesticide use and other pest management practices used by vegetable growers across the nation. Growers can use the data to compare their own practices with aggregated data from growers in their state and the nation. Survey results will be published in NASS’s online database, Quick Stats, in July 2017. This database and all NASS reports are available on the agency’s web site: For

more information on NASS surveys and reports, call the NASS Southern Regional Field Office at 1-800-253- 4419.

GFB News Alert page 4 of 10 VOTING FOR AMERICAN PECAN COUNCIL UNDERWAY Qualified pecan growers and shellers have until Oct. 7 to cast votes in the election for seats on the American Pecan Council (APC), which will administer the new federal marketing order for pecan. The ballots were mailed on Sept. 16. There are three growing regions (West, Central and East, which includes Georgia). Each region is allotted the following number of seats on the APC: Two large growers (defined as those who produce pecans on 176 acres or more), one small grower (smaller than 176 acres), one large sheller (defined as those who handle more than 12.5 million pounds per year) and one small sheller (less than 12.5 million pounds per year). The nominated growers in the East region are: Large growers - Angie Ellis, Randy Hudson, Trent Mason and Buck Paulk; Small growers – Clay Anderson, Randolph Erving, Claire Powell and Molly Willis. Nominated shellers in the East region are: Large shellers – Brandon Harrell and Jeff Worn; Small shellers – Larry Wilson and Kenny Tarver. Producers or shellers who have not received a ballot by Sept. 26 are asked to contact the USDA’s Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS). The contacts are Christian Nissen ( and Jennie Varela ( For more information visit the AMS site at APB RELEASES GUIDANCE ON PECAN ASSESSMENT The American Pecan Board (APB) has released guidance on the pecan assessment. The assessment on pecans from the 2016 crop is expected to be published in the Federal Register in early 2017, but the APB expects the assessment to be retroactive to Oct. 1, 2016. The American Pecan Council (APC), which is in the process of being formed, has to recommend the assessment amount and the USDA has to confirm it. The APB indicated the likely assessment rates for the 2016 crop will be two cents per inshell pound on native, seedling and substandard pecans and three cents per inshell pound on improved pecans. The APB and the National Pecan Shellers Association have prepared two forms which handlers and producers may review and wish to incorporate into their purchasing and transfer of pecans this year. The first form, 2016 Pecan Handler Assessment Receipt is available for use at buying points between handlers and pecan producers. The form can be accessed online at The second form, Inter-Handler Transfer of Pecans Receipt, is available for use between handlers when transferring pecans. The assessment on pecans is only owed once but it will be necessary for handlers to clearly identify who is responsible for paying the assessment. The form can be accessed online at

GFB News Alert page 5 of 10 EPA ACCEPTING ATRAZINE COMMENTS UNTIL OCT. 5 The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has issued a draft ecological risk assessment of atrazine. The assessment is part of registration review, which the EPA uses periodically to ensure pesticides and herbicides continue to meet statutory standards, according to information the EPA published in the Federal Register notice of the assessment. The draft assessment notice, which can be viewed at, was issued in June. Public comments may be made until Oct. 5. According to the American Farm Bureau Federation, if the draft assessment is left unchallenged it would significantly impact continued availability of atrazine by jeopardizing its re-registration. Atrazine is a widely used herbicide and has been effectively used for decades in controlling weeds, particularly among corn, sorghum and sugarcane acreage. Earlier this year, EPA issued a draft Ecological Assessment of the herbicide, which is a preliminary step in judging whether the chemical will continue to be available for agricultural producers. To make a comment on the draft assessment visit BAYER, MONSANTO AGREE TO MERGER On Sept. 14 Bayer and Monsanto announced a merger agreement under which Bayer will acquire Monsanto for $128 per share in an all-cash transaction. Monsanto’s Board of Directors, Bayer’s Board of Management and Bayer’s Supervisory Board have unanimously approved the agreement, according to a joint press release from the two companies. The merger will pair Monsanto’s seed and traits technology with Bayer’s crop protection products in one global company. While the companies assert that growers will benefit from a broad set of agricultural solutions, the American Farm Bureau Federation (AFBF) cautioned that such mergers can create a significant impact on tools available to farmers and ranchers. AFBF Chief Economist Bob Young testified before the Senate Judiciary Committee on Sept. 20, noting that the market for seeds, chemicals and crop nutrients is poised to shrink from six major companies to three. Dow AgroSciences and DuPont announced a planned merger earlier this year. “This deal between Monsanto and Bayer comes close on the heels of the proposed Dow DuPont merger,” Young said. “Farm Bureau believes the Department of Justice should undertake a close review of the overall business climate that has encouraged these combinations, rather than evaluating them in isolation. Consumers must continue to have fair access to the best technologies and innovation.” Meanwhile, another merger involving Monsanto has drawn attention from the Justice Department (DOJ), which on Aug. 31 filed a civil antitrust suit to block the sale of Monsanto subsidiary Precision Planting LLC to Deere & Company. The lawsuit alleges that the transaction would combine the only two significant U.S. providers of high-speed precision planting systems – technology that is designed to allow farmers to plant crops accurately at higher speeds. The acquisition would deny farmers throughout the country

the benefits of competition that has spurred innovation, improved quality and lowered prices. The department filed its lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois.

GFB News Alert page 6 of 10 DOWDY ADDS SOYBEAN YIELD RECORD TO HIS CORN ACHIEVEMENTS South Georgia farmer Randy Dowdy set the world record with his soybean yield of 171.8 bushels per acre, surpassing the six-year-old mark of 160 bushels per acre. Dowdy already held the world record in corn yield. He also grows peanuts and wheat. According to a UGA press release, Dowdy believes UGA played a vital part in this achievement. “We always have ideas and we always have concerns and we always have things that we don’t understand as farmers, and I have tapped into the UGA resource quite often, whether it’s at the local county agent level or at the university level,” Dowdy said. “They bring a wealth of information. They’ve been doing this for a long time. I’m not interested in reinventing those wheels. They’re open to new ideas and vetting new concepts. That’s been a good deal.” According to UGA Extension soybean expert Dr. Jared Whitaker, Georgia farmers average 37 soybean bushels per acre every year, although that number increases to over 60 bushels per acre for farmers who irrigate their soybeans. Still, Dowdy’s feat is more than four times the state average. He is the only Georgia farmer to have officially produced more than 100 bushels per acre. Dowdy has been farming soybeans since 2014. “He has taken what the University of Georgia has done and worked with a lot of industry people to try to push the boundaries of yield potential,” Whitaker said. “The first year he did it, he broke 100 bushels and he’s increased that each year.” Whitaker said Dowdy’s achievement is extremely impressive considering the environmental factors that soybean producers must overcome in south Georgia. “It’s a world record, which stands on its own. But the fact that it came from south Georgia is the most impressive thing,” Whitaker said. “Our soils are dry to the point of drought. Our temperatures are hot. Soybeans typically do not flourish in those environments. The fact that it’s a world record in south Georgia is beyond my belief.” Dowdy’s record-setting yields occurred on 3.15 acres of the 2,000-plus acres he farms. The crop was planted April 22 and April 23 in Brooks County and was harvested on Aug. 28. Ben Shirley, the UGA Extension Agriculture and Natural Resources agent in Brooks County, confirmed Dowdy’s contest entry. “Specifically, Randy works diligently to eliminate stress to the plant via soil fertility and soil moisture and to limit losses via insects and diseases. He also harvested the crop in an extremely timely manner,” Whitaker said.

GFB News Alert page 7 of 10 TWO GA FFA CHAPTERS RECEIVE GRANTS FFA chapters in Jones County and Liberty County have been grants to tackle environmental or emergency issues in their communities. Georgia chapters that have received the grants are Clifton Ridge Middle School FFA in Jones County and Liberty County High School FFA in Hinesville. Funding is provided by CSX Transportation and administered through the National FFA Foundation’s Living to Serve: Environmental and Emergency Preparedness Grant Program. The two Georgia chapters were among 42 chapters in 26 states to receive grants of up to $1,200 in funds. According to an FFA press release, the chapters have begun their semester-long projects. Each winning project includes plans to invest the time of FFA members, community members and local leaders in a service-learning project that tackles an environmental or emergency preparedness issue. The Clifton Ridge FFA chapter, which is new, purchased composting bins and materials to handle organic waste material coming from the school’s lunchroom. The plan for the resulting compost is to use it as a soil amendment for raised-bed gardens and planting trees. “The kids have responded tremendously,” said Clifton Ridge agriculture teacher Rick Burrell. “When I saw they were already accustomed to separating things from breakfast in the morning I knew it wasn’t going to be hard to take it another step to do this. I’ve had no problems getting participation.” The Liberty County High School FFA chapter used grant funds along with donated, gently used backpacks to create emergency preparedness kits. The “go bags” include a small first-aid kit, hand-crank radio/flashlight/USB charger, thermal blanket, water-safe tablets, and a clear shoebox sized bin (to keep items waterproof). “The kids are really excited to have the kits ready to send in the event of another emergency like [Hurricane] Hermine or the flooding in Louisiana,” said Liberty County ag teacher Jeci Bohannon. “They have such huge hearts and we generally don't get to see that side of them at school.”

The National FFA Organization makes grant funds available for FFA chapters to develop service-learning projects that impact environmental or emergency preparedness issues in their community. Chapters may apply for up to $1,200 to support semester-long service-learning projects focused on local needs. The service-learning method challenged members to identify research and develop and implement solutions to needs within their school or community. These projects illustrate the last line of the FFA motto, “Living to Serve,” by encouraging FFA members to unite in service within their communities. These grants take community service one step further to service-learning, which provides a meaningful way to apply leadership and educational skills learned in school and FFA.

GFB News Alert page 8 of 10 GA MILK PRODUCERS & ADA FALL DISTRICT MEETINGS Sept. 22 Western Sizzlin', 501 Legion Dr. 7 p.m. Dalton Sept. 23 Ryan's Buffet and Grill, 243 Tanger Blvd. Noon Commerce At these meetings, Georgia Milk Producers and the American Dairy Association of Georgia will hold elections, report on industry issues and promotional efforts and announce upcoming events. Dinner or lunch will be served at each meeting depending on the time the meeting is set to begin. AGAWARE FREE AGRICULTURE FINANCE TRAINING Sept. 23 Gordon County Ag Center 9 a.m. – 4 p.m. Calhoun This workshop is for young, beginning and small farmers. Young farmers are defined as those 35 years of age or younger; beginning farmers are defined as those having 10 years or less of experience; and small farmers are defined as those having annual gross agricultural sales of $250,000 or less. Topics covered include: balance sheets, income statements, family finance & family budgeting and business plan. The workshop also offers videos on recordkeeping, marketing, and technology. The AGAware educational program is also certified for FSA Direct Borrower Training Credit. To register visit PLAINS PEANUT FESTIVAL Sept. 24 Plains This annual event in the hometown of President Jimmy Carter kicks off at 11 a.m. with a parade. Retired UGA Southwest Georgia Experiment Station Superintendent Bobby Moss will be the grand marshal. Planters' Mr. Peanut and the NUT Mobile Peanut will be featured in the parade. Festival attractions include displays from The Peanut Institute, National Peanut Board, American Peanut Shellers Association, Georgia Peanut Commission, Planters, Jif, National Peanut Buying Points Association and Mars. Other events include a 5K road race, free entertainment, historical and educational displays, food vendors, as well as arts and crafts booths. SAM Shortline will have train rides and President and Mrs. Carter will be signing books. The festival street dance featuring Jimmy Gaddy will perform live on Main Street beginning at 8:30 p.m. on Saturday. For more information and to view a schedule of activities, visit the official website of the Plains Peanut Festival at  GEORGIA FARM BUREAU DISTRICT ANNUAL MEETINGS Sept. 26 9th District Mitchell County Ag Center 7 p.m. Camilla Sept. 27 6th District Poplar Springs North Baptist Church 7 p.m. Dublin Sept. 29 1st District First Baptist Church 7 p.m. Calhoun 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. 2016 GEORGIA NATIONAL FAIR Oct. 6-16 Georgia National Fairgrounds & Agricenter Perry The award-winning Georgia National Fair features livestock and horse shows, youth exhibits, home and fine arts competitions, family entertainment and Midway rides and games. Major

concerts include The Band Perry and Lynyrd Skynyrd. For more information visit

GFB News Alert page 9 of 10 AFBF WHITE-REINHARDT MINI-GRANTS, SCHOLARSHIPS Oct. 15 deadline to apply The American Farm Bureau Foundation for Agriculture White-Reinhardt Fund for Education offers two opportunities for counties to receive funding. The White-Reinhardt Mini-Grant Program is offered to county Farm Bureaus in amounts up to $500 for classroom education programs for grades K-12 to initiate new programs or expand existing programs to additional grade levels or new subject areas. Applications are online. Visit for more information. The White-Reinhardt Scholarship Program provides up to $1,500 in travel funds to educators employed by a public or private school system or volunteers who actively participate in classroom ag literacy programs or events to attend the 2017 National Ag in the Classroom Conference. To apply visit County Farm Bureaus may have their application reviewed by sending a draft of their application to Donna Rocker no later than Oct. 1. For help in completing the application, contact Rocker at 2016 SUNBELT AG EXPO Oct. 18-20 Spence Field Moultrie North America’s largest farm show features field demonstrations, the Swisher Sweets/Sunbelt Expo Southeastern Farmer of the Year announcement, and more than 1,200 exhibitors. Tickets are $10 per person per day. Children under 10 are admitted free with parent. Multi-day tickets are $20. For more information visit AGRICULTURE LABOR RELATIONS FORUM & TRAINING Nov. 1-2 UGA Tifton Campus Conference Center Tifton Georgia Farm Bureau and other ag organizations are collaborating with the Georgia Fruit & Vegetable Growers Association (GFVGA) for this forum, which will provide an in-depth overview and training on labor rules and regulations for growers, office managers, and other office personnel who handle the administrative and human resource reporting duties for farm and business operations. The conference will provide attendees with resources to comply with existing labor rules and regulations. This conference is not a discussion about immigration policy reform. Anticipated topics include: Preparing for a wage and hour audit; what’s new with worker protection standards; how to decide whether to use the H-2A program; clarification of the I-9 process; transportation guidelines and employer health care compliance. Forum registration costs are $150. For more information call the GFVGA at 706-845-8200. ONGOING FARM BUREAU-SPONSORED FARMERS MARKETS DODGE COUNTY FARMERS MARKET Saturdays Dodge County Courthouse 9 a.m. – 2 p.m. Eastman This open-air market, sponsored in part by Dodge County Farm Bureau, features locally produced meats, vegetables, eggs and artisanal crafts. For more information contact market manager T.I. Papel at 478-374-5895 or, or visit

GFB News Alert page 10 of 10 MONROE FARMERS MARKET Saturdays until Oct. 8 Court Street 8:30 a.m. – 12:30 p.m. Monroe This market, sponsored in part by Walton County Farm Bureau, will feature fresh produce and goods from local farmers, work from local artisans and family friendly activities. For more information visit ROCKDALE/DEKALB FARM BUREAU FARMERS MARKET Tuesdays and Saturdays 8 a.m. – noon Thursdays 4 p.m. – 7 p.m. The Rockdale/DeKalb Farm Bureau Farmers Market will be open 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! For more information contact the Rockdale/DeKalb County Farm Bureau office at 770-922-3566. SHIELDS-ETHRIDGE HERITAGE FARM CULTIVATORS’ MARKET Oct. 15 and Nov. 19 Shields-Ethridge Heritage Farm 9 a.m. – 1 p.m. 2355 Ethridge Rd. Jefferson Jackson County Farm Bureau (JCFB) is sponsoring this monthly open-air market that will allow local farmers and entrepreneurs to sell products they make or grow in a festival atmosphere. Market will be held rain or shine. The Shields-Ethridge Heritage Farm is an outdoor ag museum that functions as an educational and interpretative facility. Proceeds from the market will be used for restoration projects at the farm. If you are interested in having a booth at the market, contact JCFB Office Manager Denise Temple at or call 706-367-8877 or visit to complete an application online.

Georgia Farm Bureau News Alert - September 21, 2016  

This week in the GFB News Alert... the Georgia Department of Revenue provides sales tax collection guidance for growers who sell direct-to-...

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