South GA Ag Magazine 2022

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Raised in the DIRT AG Garcia Farms Georgia Peanut Farmer of the Year The Cost of Farming See page 6 See page 16 See page 28 Featuring agricultural highlights from Cook, Irwin, and Turner Counties South Georgia 2022
2 | South Georgia Ag –Raised in the DIRT 3664 Hwy. 82 West • Tifton, GA 31793 (229)382-9821 www.perrinfarmequipment.com At Perrin Farm Equipment, we are passionately committed to providing our customers with the highest quality products, most innovative solutions, and services delivered with integrity and professionalism.
www.abac.edu229.391.5001 A legacy of excellence. A standard for the future.
Garcia Farms - Farming from the ground up - Pages 16-19 farm has collaborated with the University of Georgia Extension on research efforts such as soil moisture sensor projects that monitor moisture manage water applications. greatly reduced the amount irrigation water used to produce a crop. also purchase bulk chemical to minimize plastic waste. When we do use plastic containers, they are recycled.” -Pages 8-9 has of I Howell receives Outstanding Georgia Peanut Farmer of the Year Award -Pages 28-29 Table of Contents “I think my pay was about $1 per hour –which is better than 75 cents I got at Adel Canning & Pickling Co.” -Page 24 Tractorcade -Pages 16-17 Women in Agribusiness -Page 8-11
Editor: Charles Shiver Advertising: Deborah Farmer Brandy Mixon Melanie Hughes Publishers: Maria Hardman Ben Baker Graphic Design: Dalton Yawn Writer: Lionela Gutierrez Nava A Publication of Publishing Company, LLCB&H The Adel News Tribune The Ocilla Star The Wiregrass Farmer Pg. 7 Pg. 24 Pg. 28 A quick look at the cost of farming 6 Strawberries 7 Scotty Raines named 2022 Farmer of the Year 8-9 Area communities lead Georgia in ag production 10-11 Garcia Farms - Farming from the Ground up 16-19 Chamber honors Justin Shealey as Agri-Business person of the year 24-25 BASF named to Newsweek’s list of Top 100 Most Loved Workplaces for 2022 26-27 Howell receives Outstanding Georgia Peanut Farmer of the Year Award 28-29 South Georgia’s top crops 34 Circle G Angus Farm ranked fifth in Angus registrations for Georgia during 2022 34 Cotton 36-37

A quick look at the co$t of farming

An old joke says:

How do you make a small fortune farming? Start with a large one.

EXPENSIVE

In 2020, the US Department of Agriculture estimates Georgia farmers spent $7.1 billion to grow their crops.

Farming is certainly expensive, something most peo ple do not understand. Just to start farming on a big enough scale to support a family requires dirt, land and somewhere to grow the crop. People who say they have a “farm” on an acre or two may think they have a farm.

That’s actually a large garden. The average Georgia farm is 235 acres. The Peach State has 9.9 million acres devoted to farming.

If you figure a bare acre of farmland is $2,000, a low estimate, then the average farm has $470,000 invested in just real estate. If that farm also has pivots on the land, that per-acre price goes way up.

Look at this another way. If the farmer has to rent land to grow his crops, UGA reports non-irrigated land rented for $67 per acre in 2019. Land with a pivot costs $208 per acre in rent. Banks are sometimes reluctant to loan money to farmers to grow certain crops unless the land has a pivot.

FUEL COSTS

In 2022, farmers were hit with the biggest increase in diesel fuel they had ever seen. Tractors and com bines run on diesel. 2022 figures are not yet in.

Figure it takes 4-6 gallons of diesel per acre to farm. At $2 per gallon and splitting the middle for 5 gallons to the acre means a farmer may spend $10 per acre

just on fuel. That may not sound like much until you do the math to cover the whole farm. A 235-acre farm spent about $2,350 just in fuel. If diesel fuel doubled, that meant $4,700.

Irrigation systems can run electrical motors or inter nal combustion engines that use fuel.

EQUIPMENT

It also takes equipment to farm. Tractors, combines and pivot irrigation systems are expensive. A tractor big enough to handle a commercial farm will cost more than a vehicle. Add on the equipment needed like planters, sprayers, plows and harrows and the cost zooms. Because of how expensive combines are, some farmers opt to hire combine owners to come in and harvest their crops.

Spending $100,000 just on a tractor is not unusual. Module-making cotton combines can cost a cool half million dollars. Module makers drop covered bales of cotton in the field. Can you imagine spending that much money on something that is driven a few weeks to a month every year?

OTHER COSTS

On top of this, the farmer has seed, fertilizer and pesticide costs. Depending on the crop he may also have to pay for storage for a while. While Georgia has tax breaks, the farmer still has to pay property and in come taxes. He has to pay sales tax on items used for the farm and production of the crops.

The farmer also has to make money to support his family.

Some crops generate more money than others. At the same time, some crops require a lot more invest ment than others. For instance strawberries have to be picked by hand. That means a large labor cost. Corn is harvest ed with a combine, so the peracre labor cost is lower.

In 2022, the USDA says Geor gia cotton farmers average 914 pounds per acre. They made 86.8 cents per pound or about $793 per acre. Peanuts averaged about 4.1 tons per acre but the farmer only made 23.3 cents per pound for an average of $1,190.60 per acre. However, that does not tell the whole story either.

Some cotton is dryland, mean ing it has no irrigation. Some is irrigated. Nearly all peanuts are grow on fields with irrigation. That raises the cost a lot.

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S trawberries

Nottoo long ago, strawberries were either a store-bought item or something people grew in their garden.

Now you-pick farms dot Southwest Geor gia. These farms allow you to harvest your strawberries or buy already-picked fruit. You will pay a bit more for baskets out of the coolers because the farm has to cover the labor cost to get the berries in from the field.

CALHOUN PRODUCE

Located at the upper end of Turner County, Calhoun Produce straddles the Crisp and Turner County line. The berry patch is inside Turner County, while other parts of the Georgia Grown farm are a step across the line.

Strawberries are available in spring through early summer. Sometimes, a late cold snap will delay the fruits for a bit. Calhoun’s has even seen a South Georgia freeze threaten the crops. When that happens, they turn on the irrigation. The running water keeps the ice at 32 degrees fahrenheit and protects the plants from extensive dam age. The water runs until the temperatures warm and the ice is nearly gone.

Calhoun’s main business is growing beans and peas. Over the years, they have expanded the headquarters to include a small market area and a petting zoo. During the fall, they have a corn maze and activities for school groups.

PAULK VINEYARDS

Before Deana Carter, David Allan Coe sang about strawberry wine in the song “Tennessee Whisky” by Dean Dillon and Linda Hargrove. On the far east side of Irwin County, one farm has taken the idea to heart.

Paulk Vineyards produces Sa tilla Road Sweet strawberry wine from fruit grown at the farm. The farm also operates you-pick strawberry, grape and muscadine fields.

Paulk also makes blueberry, blackberry and muscadine-based wine. Some of their wines are also infused with other fruit fla vors. Scuppernongs and musca dines are US native grapes. They both grow in small groups or sin gly, while imported grapes grow in large bunches.

SOME STRAWBERRY FACTS

Strawberries are native to North and South America and Europe. The wild varieties are often small, no bigger than the fingernail on your smallest finger and flavor less. Selective breeding over the centuries lead to to day’s varieties that are very sweet and many times the size of their wild cousins.

Fragaria ananassa is the first cross-continent straw berry, accidentally made in France when a plant from Chile was allowed to pollinate a Virginia plant. The En glish are largely responsible for the varieties that gave rise to today’s commercial plants. Charles Hovey, a nurs eryman in Cambridge, MA, in 1834, gets the credit for the first US cross, the Hovey.

The average berry has 200 seeds, on the outside of the fruit. Sometimes the seeds can sprout when still at tached to the berry. Every state in the US grows straw berries. Technically, a strawberry is not a berry since the seeds are on the outside.

About 94% of Americans eat strawberries. On aver age, an American eats 3.4 pounds of the fresh fruit each year and 1.8 pounds of frozen berries.

The current world record is 10.19 ounces and was about the size of the farmer’s hand. Ariel Chahi grew the whopper in Israel. Strawberry Point, Iowa, claims the world’s largest strawberry monument title, but the big one on the Calhoun Produce truck is easier to get to. It is also closer to the ground, making pictures easier.

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Scotty Raines named

Georgia Farmer of the Year!

Raines didn’t grow up on a farm, but his father kept a large garden at home. His mother, a beautician, had a beauty shop behind their house. So Scotty began his agrarian career by selling produce from the garden—to matoes, squash, cucumbers, and corn—to her customers. He also participated in FFA at Turner High School and, after graduation, became a farm technician with Agratech Seed Research. In 1991, he married Melanie, a girl he’d grown up with, and two years later began farming full-time in partnership with his father-in-law.

Scotty

Raines said, “I’m very proud of my family. My wife keeps her accounting skills sharp by maintaining the books for three area churches. We are active in First Baptist Church of Tifton. When our oldest daughter, Celie, was in school, she was in the marching band. It was quite a feat because she is hearing impaired. Our second daughter, Christian, is an EMT. She loves helping people, although she battles Lupus and is in pain most of the time. I think this helps her relate to her patients.”

He added, “Her husband, Justin Pate, works full-time on the farm and has a passion for volunteer fireman work. He was just awarded the Turner County Most Responses and Responder of the Year awards. He and Christian have been working on their certification to become foster parents.”

Raines recalled, “My father-in-law and I originally farmed about 500 acres and eventually expanded to 1200 acres. I ventured out on my own to purchase 30 beef cows in 1994. During our part nership we purchased two farms; the remainder of the acres we worked was rented. My wife and mother-in-law were very active in the operation.”

In the spring of 1996, his father-in-law suffered some major health problems, so Raines finished the crop that year. He began farming on his own a year later with 1000 acres that grew over time to 2300 acres, with 1199 acres owned and 1101 acres rented.

Crop yields at Scotty Raines Farms Partnerships are as follows: 760 acres of cotton yielding 940 (conservatively) lbs/acre; 385 acres of irrigated peanuts yielding 5880 lbs/acre; 800 acres of cot ton yielding 860 lbs/acre; 200 acres of non-irrigated peanuts yield ing 4760 lbs/acre; 120 acres of corn yielding 219 bushels/acre; and 35 acres of watermelon yielding 100,000 lbs/acre. Raines also owns 27 beef cattle.

For marketing his crops, Raines uses a variety of techniques. In 2001, he purchased 25 percent of Hat Creek Peanut Compa ny, a peanut buying facility and a chemical and seed selling point owned by four larger farmer groups. In 2022, Hat Creek Peanut Company will be entering into the trucking business to further

help the owners and other area farmers to handle their commod ities more efficiently.”

He commented, “I was confident it would provide us with a more active way to market our peanuts. Hat Creek and I later bought shares in Tifton Quality Peanut, a produced-owned shell ing company that’s also grower owned. They shell the nuts and sell directly to companies like Mars Candy. Doing business this way puts us closer to the consumer and retailer in terms of sales. And anytime you can get one step closer to the consumer, I be lieve you’ve made a step in the right direction.”

In the beginning of his farming career Raines marketed his own cotton through local gins. He remembered, “Since I was so busy on the farm, joining Staplcotn, a marketing cooperative, was a better solution. It’s a great time-saving and solid way of doing things. And because we carefully manage insect pests and harvest in a timely manner, we maximize our cotton quality and therefore receive the best market price possible. I’m proud to say that our farms won a Georgia Cotton Quality Award in Region One in 2021.”

Raines’ cattle are marketed through one of the best stockyards in the South, located in his home county of Turner. Watermelon sales are conducted by brokers who handle the boxing and shipping of the produce. Raines added, “We monitor the corn market selves. Most years corn in our bins and market later in the year at a higher price.”

Raines added, “We corn year

we the at a in

Scotty Raines Farms Part nerships recently purchased a bale picker to allow for fast er harvesting and reducing the number of laborers the field. And they have purchased a precision planter with individual hydraulic down force. This planter helps to get the seed placed at the right depth, even over terraces, and doesn’t overlap seed.

to allow and individ down get at the even seed.

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The aim is to produce a better, more uniform stand at planting and a better harvest in the fall. Raines also has a cabin on his land that serves as a wedding and meeting venue, generating extra income for the farm.

Meeting challenges faced by all farmers is a constant undertak ing. For Raines, a major effort has gone into converting dryland production into irrigated production. He has used long-term leas es with landowners, purchased irrigated land/irrigation systems, and updated outdated irrigation systems. Another decision was to diversify by adding a watermelon crop and by increasing the number of corn acres under cultivation.

Raines has also had to deal with rising input costs over the years. He explained, “In 1993, we bought a tractor for $35,000. Now that same tractor costs $200,000. We buy fuel in bulk to save money, but now a 7500–lb. tank might cost $37,000 to fill up. And the prices we get for crops don’t always equal what we paid to plant and nurture them through to harvest. It’s a constant balanc ing act.”

Of course one of the most prevalent unknowns is weather. Raines said, “Irrigation helps with drought, but hurricane Irma in 2017 and Michael in 2018 really hit us hard, and we haven’t fully recovered from those two events when we lost most our crop. Since crop insurance was insufficient to recoup the losses, we were able to do some refinancing to overcome the impact of these natural disasters.”

In the area of environmentally helpful practices Raines uses variable rate fertilization of lime, potash, and MAP to increase the nutrient efficiency and reduce the potential of oversaturation of unneeded nutrients and fuel wastage. The application is all based on the five-acre grid soil sample taken annually. To protect water sheds and reduce the potential for soil erosion, the farm main tains terraces and waterways.

He noted, “My farm has collaborated with the University of Georgia Extension on research efforts such as soil moisture sen sor projects that monitor moisture status and manage water ap plications. This has greatly reduced the amount of irrigation water used to produce a crop. I also purchase bulk chemical contain ers to minimize plastic waste. When we do use plastic containers, they are recycled.”

Raines added, “We use conservation tillage methods and win ter cover crops, like clover and rye, and now triticale, on the vast majority of acreage. It’s an important tool to help with weed con trol, improve soil moisture holding capacity, and support the longterm sustainability of our farm.”

On the local county level, Raines is a current member and for mer chair and president of the Turner County Younger Farmer Association and a former president and board member of the Turner County Farm Bureau. The Raines’ were named Ashburn Turner County Farm Family of the Year in 2001. On the state level, he is the Georgia Farm Bureau District Director, serves on the Su wannee-Satilla Water Council, and was formerly the Southern Re gion Director of Georgia Young Farmers. Raines was also named Middle/South Soil & Water Conservationist of the Year in 2003. On the national level, he has served as a member of the Farm Bu reau World Congress of Young Farmers. Melanie Raines currently serves as the chair of the Turner County Board of Elections.

In years past, when Scotty and Melanie have taken some free time, they’ve gone to St. Augustine to kick back and relax. More recently they’ve headed to the Gulf side of Florida, renting a small house or condo on the beach in Panama City or Destin. He said, “We also like go deer hunting with our daughters. Well, it’s more like I fix up the deer stands, and they do the hunting.”

After spending a long time in the risk-laden business of agri culture, the reward of seeing things grow to fruition is still quite real for Raines. He commented, “We recently needed to plant 140

acres of peanuts on dryland on the north side of our property. The planter sat there for three weeks until the good Lord sent half an inch of rain so that we could go ahead and do what we needed to do. The same thing happened recently on the south side of our farm with cotton. We got one inch at almost the last possible mo ment. So that’s when we gladly give thanks for prayers answered.”

Scotty Raines was nominated for Georgia Farmer of the Year by Guy Hancock, University of Georgia Cooperative Extension, Turn er County ANR Agent. He said, “I nominated Scotty Raines for this honor because he is a true representative of Georgia agriculture. He is a great collaborator on UGA Extension projects and is always willing to support our research and outreach efforts.”

He added, “Despite having to overcome numerous adversities in recent years such as tornados, hurricanes (Irma in 2017 and Michael in 2018), and other extreme weather events, Scotty has maintained a strong farming operation and a positive attitude through it all. He is always working towards integrating technolo gy into his farm such as soil moisture sensors, GPS, and variable rate equipment to make the operation more efficient. The Raines family’s resilience and significant investments in agriculture have earned them the respect of those in their community and be yond.”

A distinguished panel of judges visited Scotty Raines, along with the other nine state winners via zoom during the summer. The judges included John McKissick, longtime University of Geor gia agricultural economist at Athens, Georgia; David Wildy, Ma nila, Arkansas, the overall winner of the award in 2016; and Joe West, Tifton, Georgia, retired dairy scientist and assistant Dean of the University of Georgia Tifton Campus.

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Scotty Raines received the Georgia Farmer of the Year award from the UGA Extension Service. Mr. Raines is now in the running for Farmer of the Year for the Southeast. Pictured also is Melanie Raines (r), Mr. Raines’ wife.

Area communities lead Georgia in ag production

#23.

Straw Irwin, #4 in state, 3,000 acres, $540,000.

Tobacco

Cook, #19 in state, 59 acres, $294,643.

Irwin was #23.

Miscellaneous Row and Forage Crops Farm Gate Value 2020

•Turner, #13 in state, $753,923.

•Irwin, #15 in state, $665,703. Cook was #33.

Total Row and Forage Crops Val ue 2020

• Irwin, #10 in state, $53,025,615. Cook was #36, and Turner was #25.

Blackberries

• Irwin, #2 in state, 170 acres, $3,160,130.

• Cook, #8 in state, 29 acres, $536,558.

Blueberries

• Irwin, #18 in state, 144 acres, $1,944,000.

Cook was #31, and Turner was #55.

Grapes

• Irwin, #2 in state, 945 acres, $4,825,548.

Strawberries

• Irwin, #10 in state, 10 acres, $400,000.

Area counties featured in B&H Publishing Co.’s annual agriculture magazine are among the top 20 of Georgia’s 159 counties in the fol lowing areas of production:

Cotton Farm Gate Value Irwin, #8 in state, 32,170 acres, $18,832,961.

Cook was #26, and Turner was #22.

Oats Turner, #14 in state, 1,025 acres, $196,492.

Cook was #66, and Irwin was #30.

Peanuts

• Irwin, #6 in state, 26,700 acres, $25,231,500.

• Turner, #17 in state, 17,406 acres, $14,690,664.

Cook was #29.

Rye Turner, #4 in state, 2,794 acres, $508,508.

Cook was #51, and Irwin was #29.

Sorghum Turner, #5 in state, 1,685 acres, $616,710.

Cook was #26, and Irwin was

• Turner, #18 in state, 6 acres, $180,000.

Miscellaneous Fruits and Nuts Farm Gate Value 2020

•Cook, #11 in state, $90,000.

Total Fruits and Nuts Value 2020

• Irwin, #16 in state, $12,214,743. Cook was #46, and Turner was #56.

Bell Peppers

• Cook, #15 in state, 16 acres, $240,000.

Cabbage

• Cook, #2 in state, 507 acres, $2,889,900. (Colquitt County was #1, 3,230 acres, $33,915,000.)

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Cantaloupe

•Turner, #4 in state, 281 acres, $1,475,250.

Cucumbers

•Cook, #12 in state, 11 acres, $137,610.

Irwin was #33.

Eggplant

•Cook, #9 in state, 10 acres, $70,000.

•Irwin, #19 in state, $1,118.

Greens

•Cook, #5 in state, 896 acres, $3,753,835.

•Irwin, #13 in state, 50 acres, $588,803.

Okra

•Irwin, #2 in state, 7 acres, $181,988.

(#1 was Habersham County, 8 acres, $246,400.)

Other Peppers (Banana, hot, and specialty peppers)

•Irwin, #17 in state, $4,140.

Snap Beans

•Irwin, #18 in state, 68 acres, $119,000.

Squash (Yellow and Winter)

•Turner, #6 in state, 141 acres, $1,850,625.

Irwin was #46.

Watermelon

•Turner, #3 in state, 1,535 acres, $16,578,000.

•Cook, #6 in state, 900 acres,

$9,200,000.

•Irwin, #9 in state, 45 acres, $6,750,000.

Zucchini

•Cook, #7 in state, 76 acres, $760,000.

Irwin was #24.

Total Vegetable Value

•Turner, #12 in state, $20,895,665.

• Cook, #15 in state, $17,483,345.

Irwin was #26.

Turfgrass

•Cook, #6 in state, 1,611 acres, $7,330,050.

•Irwin, #14 in state, 550 acres, $2,502,500.

Turner was #29.

Pine Straw

•Irwin, #4 in state, 30,000 acres, $4,140,000.

Cook was #45, and Turner was #22.

Miscellaneous Forestry Prod ucts Farm Gate Value 2020

•Cook, #9 in state, $2,081,100.

Irwin was #56, and Turner was #55.

Honeybees

•Cook, #10 in state, $1,077,970.

•Irwin, #14 in state, $798,500.

Turner was #67.

Horses, Raised

•Cook, #17 in state, 300, $690,000.

Irwin was #49.

Pork - Feeder

•Irwin, #14 in state, 135 head, $91,125.

Quail

•Irwin, #7 in state, 65,000, $250,250.

Crop Insurance

•Irwin, #15 in state, $3,247,030. Cook was #30, and Turner was #35.

Government Payments

• Irwin, #10 in state, $22,861,217.

•Turner, #12 in state, $20,092,912.

Cook was #34.

Total Other Income and Agri Tourism Value 2020

• Irwin, #11 in state, $26,578,247.

•Turner, #17 in state, $21,498,675.

Cook was #37.

Total Farm Gate Value, 2020

•Irwin, #30 in state, $121,917,324.

•Turner, #47 in state, $94,438,933.

• Cook, #48 in state, $94,164,973.

#1 was Colquitt County, $481,583,634.

SOURCE: Georgia Farm Gate Value Report 2020, compiled and published by University of Georgia Extension (latest stats available).

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Garcia Farms Farming from the ground up

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“I love how farmers help each other in times of need”

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“This warehouse is not just a place where we work, but it’s basically our home”
- Richard Garcia
South
Georgia AG
–Raised in the DIRT | 19
LEA GASKINS HAZEL, LLC ATTORNEY AT LAW Real Estate • Adoptions Business and Corporate Law Guardianships & Conservatorships Municipal Law • Probate Matters Wills and Estate Planning Member of the State Bar of Georgia since 1997 300 EAST FOURTH ST. • ADEL, GEORGIA 31620 229-896-2879 • STATE BAR # 341340 EMAIL: LEAHAZEL@ICLOUD COM Experience Southern Charm Congratulations Scotty Raines Farmer of the Year! Ashburn Turner County Chamber of Commerce 238 E College Ave | Ashburn, GA 31714 229-567-9696 119 S. Parrish Avenue PO Box 278, Adel, GA 31620-0278 Bus 229-896-2257 http://www.brentdixoninsurance.com brent@brentdixoninsurance.comBrent Dixon Agent The greatest compliment you can give is a referral. Proudly Serving Our Farmers & Community! Mon - Fri: 8 a.m. - 5 p.m. Seasonal Hours Sat: 8 a.m. - 12 p.m. 385 Kinard Bridge Rd • Lenox, GA 229-546-4235
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Chamber honors Justin Shealey as Agri-Business Person of the Year

Earlierthis year, Tucker Price, County Extension Co ordinator and Agriculture Agent for Cook County, introduced Justin Shealey, a fifth generation family farmer, as the Adel-Cook County Chamber of Com merce’s 2021 Agri-Business Person of the Year.

In his remarks, Price said, “From peanuts and cotton, to pine tree seedlings and blackberries, Cook County farmers produce a variety of agriculture commodities.

“What many don’t realize is the demand on a typical ag riculture producer. What other profession places as much emphasis on economics, management, and human re sources as it does on entomology, plant pathology, and soil chemistry?

“Most people know what the temperature outside is right now; but if you know what the temperature of the soil at 6 inches below the surface is, you might be a farmer. Soil tem perature plays a big role in seed germination.

Today anyone can get this information from the weather station behind me. Just go to Georgia weather.net and se lect Sparks, GA.”

“It’s my privilege to present Cook County’s Agri-Business Person of the Year award,” Price said. “The farmer to be rec ognized for this award has a true passion for agriculture. Commodities traditionally produced on this individual’s farm include peanuts and cotton. Other commodities pro duced include watermelons, pecans, and wheat. All com modities produced on their land is accomplished through responsible soil and water conservation practices that en sure a sustainable, environmentally friendly agriculture pro duction system.

“Spend five minutes with this individual, and you’ll be im pressed not only with his knowledge of agriculture produc tion, but also his understanding of the industry as a whole.

“He is recognized as a leader in agriculture in the entire state. He serves as a member of the Georgia Cotton Com mission’s Commodity Group and the vegetable Commission Commodity Group, and he has been recognized by Georgia Farm Bureau for Excellence in Agriculture (2018). This pro ducer is active in the Alapaha Soil and Water District meet ings and has served in leadership roles in recognizing and addressing rural stress among the agriculture community.”

Justin Shealey, who is also a member of Young Farmers, said it is important to advocate for family farms through Georgia Farm Bureau. In 2017, he received the Donnie H. Morris Award for vegetable research. This award was in recognition of his research efforts with herbicides and new crops being tested for Georgia.

For 15 years, Shealey has provided assistance to farmers as County Extension Agent in Echols County.

The National Vegetable Industry recently recognized Shealey as one of 2022’s “40 under 40.”

Shealey also serves as District 2 Member on the Great er Cook Planning Advisory Commission. The Cook County Board of Commissioners appointed him to a term from July 2019 to June 2023.

“The recipient of this year’s Agri-Business Person of the Year Award got his influence for agriculture from his grand father,” Tucker Price said. “And just like his grandfather, he never met a stranger and could carry on a conversation with anybody with an enjoyable sense of humor. His grandfather would be very proud to see him win this award today.

“The recipient of the 2021 Agri-Business Person of the Year is Justin Shealey.”

Shealey told the Adel News that he was deeply apprecia tive of the award because there are so many others who are just as deserving.

The Shealeys have farmed on the same land since the 1970s on Brushy Creek Road and Register Road. Shealey has 300 acres in cultivation as well as 15 acres of pecan trees.

“It’s a family farm, and a family ordeal,” Shealey said. “It takes all of us to make it work. It’s important that we stay with the family farm model the best we can.”

Shealey agreed that both of his grandfathers were big in fluences on his life and career. Justin’s late granddad Don ald Shealey owned Triple S Pallet, while Justin’s late grandad Gene Sumner farmed in the Lenox and Sparks area. Justin’s father Scott Shealey now owns and operates Triple S Pallet, which produces pallets for commercial and industrial use. Justin’s mom is Toni Shealey. Triple S will celebrate 50 years of being in business in 2023. Justin said he helps his dad with the company as much as he can, but he added, “Daddy is more of a help to me on the farm than I am to him there.” Justin said his dad is skilled at working on equipment and “helps me keep my head on straight.”

Justin and his wife Mandi have been married since 2010. They have two children, Luke, 10, and Caroline, 6. The Shealeys are members of Westside Baptist Church in Adel.

Shealey said that as with his dad, he is thankful for the help that Mandi, a kindergarten teacher at Cook Primary School, gives him with the farm all the time. As examples, she helps move equipment from field to field and checks on the irrigation systems on her way to school.

Farming is a challenging business with the cost of fuel, fertilizer, and chemicals and variable commodity prices, Shealey said, but he noted proudly that his son despite be ing so young already says he wants to go into farming as a career. Shealey said he is glad that the legacy of the family farm may continue.

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BASF named to Newsweek’s list of Top 100 Most Loved Workplaces for 2022

BASF ranks among top 100 U.S. companies for employee sentiment and satisfaction

Newsweekhas announced its annual rankings for the Top 100 Most Loved Workplaces® list, and BASF has ranked among these companies for the first time, coming in at #52. The 2022 Top 100 Most Loved Workplaces are the result of a collabora tion with the Best Practice Institute (BPI), a leadership de velopment and benchmark research company.

“We are very proud to make this list because it is based on how our people feel about BASF,” said Tobias Dratt, President, Region North America, Chief Operating Officer and Chief Financial Officer, BASF Corporation. “Reflecting employee feedback, Newsweek singled out the power of connection at BASF and the special communities we have built through our employee resource groups and other strong, caring, and connected networks. This recognition supports that our company values and commitments to safety, wellbeing, inclusion, and belonging have us well po sitioned to continue to attract and retain great talent as the core of our company.”

The results were determined after surveying more than 1.4 million employees from businesses with workforces varying in size from 50 to more than 10,000. The list recog nizes companies that put respect, caring, and appreciation for their employees at the center of their business model and, in so doing, have earned the loyalty and respect of the people who work for them.

“Being named a ‘Most Loved Workplace is an honor, es pecially since it is derived mainly from feedback from our own employees,” said Krisanne Pook, Vice President, People Services USA, BASF Corporation. “It validates that the work we are doing to create a diverse, inclusive and positive em ployee experience, to provide a compelling total rewards package of employee-centered, family-friendly programs and benefits, and to include the voices and perspectives of all individuals really matters.”

The five critical areas measured to gauge employee senti ment were: How positive do workers feel about their future at the company, career achievement, how much employer

values align with employee values, respect at all levels, and the level of collaboration at the firm. In addition, areas such as inclusion, diversity, equity and belonging, and company response and adaptability to the COVID-19 pandemic, such as return-to-office rules, were identified and analyzed in re lation to the five critical areas measured.

“As a result of ‘The Great Resignation,’ more companies recognize the importance of focusing on employee satis faction to not only attract but retain top talent,” said Nancy Cooper, Global Editor in Chief, Newsweek. “The businesses on this year’s list clearly demonstrated that commitment.”

“The companies on this list represent the best at placing love at the center of their employee’s experience,” said Lou is Carter, CEO, Best Practice Institute. “The number of appli cations this year and analysis of survey data reinforces our original findings that love is the strongest predictor of the strength of a company’s culture, employee engagement, and satisfaction.”

For the full Newsweek list of 2022’s Most Loved Work places, please visit: https://www.newsweek.com/rankings/ americas-100-most-loved-workplaces-2022

Methodology

To identify the top 100 companies for the Newsweek ranking, companies were evaluated and scored as follows: 35% of the initial score was based on employee survey re sponses; 25% was derived from analysis of external public ratings from sites such as Comparably, Careerbliss, Glass door, Indeed and Google; and 40 % came from direct inter views with and written responses from company officials. Newsweek then conducted additional research into every company on the list, as well as the top runners up, to deter mine the final list of 100 companies and their ranking. (The list includes both U.S. firms and companies with a strong U.S. presence that are based overseas.)

About BASF

BASF Corporation, headquartered in Florham Park, New Jersey, is the North American affiliate of BASF SE, Lud wigshafen, Germany. BASF has more than 16,700 employ

26 | South Georgia AG –Raised in the DIRT

ees in North America and had sales of $25.9 billion in 2021. For more information about BASF’s North American opera tions, visit www.basf.com/us.

At BASF, we create chemistry for a sustainable future. We combine economic success with environmental pro tection and social responsibility. Around 111,000 em ployees in the BASF Group contribute to the success of our customers in nearly all sectors and almost every country in the world. Our portfolio compris es six segments: Chemicals, Materials, Industri al Solutions, Surface Technologies, Nutrition & Care and Agricultural Solutions. BASF generat ed sales of €78.6 billion in 2021. BASF shares are traded on the stock exchange in Frankfurt (BAS) and as American Depositary Receipts (BASFY) in the U.S. Further information at www.basf.com.

About Best Practice Institute

Best Practice Institute is an award-winning leadership and organi zation development center, benchmark research company, think tank, and solu tions provider. BPI is the certifying body for Most Loved Workplace® and conducted the original research to create the model and criteria for becoming a Most Loved Workplace®. BPI’s research proves that Most Loved Workplac es® produce 3-4 times better customer service, employee performance, and retention than compa nies not loved by their employees.

About Newsweek Newsweek is the modern global digital news orga nization built around the iconic, over 85-year-old Amer ican magazine. Newsweek reaches 100 million people each month with its thought-provoking news, opinion, images, graphics, and video delivered across a dozen print and digital platforms. Headquartered in New York City, Newsweek also publishes international editions in EMEA and Asia.

reaches

Howell receives Outstanding Georgia Peanut Farmer of the Year Award

LeRoyHowell of Adel received the Outstand ing Georgia Peanut Farmer of the Year Award for District 2 at the 45th annual Geor gia Peanut Farm Show and Conference, Jan. 20, 2022, at the University of Georgia Tifton Campus Conference Center.

The award is sponsored by the Georgia Peanut Commission and Agri Supply.

The Georgia Peanut Commission presents the Outstanding Georgia Peanut Farmer of the Year awards to one farmer in each of the commission’s five districts. This award is designed to honor farm ers who have given life-long devotion to peanut farming and who have the passion, diligence, lead ership, and desire to see that the peanut industry in the state of Georgia continues to represent the highest quality possible.

Born and raised in Cook County, Mr. Howell is a third-generation farmer who has been farming for over 50 years after serving three years in the U.S. Navy.

In 1985, Mr. Howell moved his farm to Cook County from the original farm his father purchased in 1927. He has farmed cotton, corn, peanuts, and cattle in his many years of farming. Currently, Mr. Howell has over 500 pecan trees.

Mr. Howell has been involved in a variety of agri businesses and organizations through the years. He has served on the Alapaha Soil Conservation and Water Board and the Georgia Farm Bureau Grains Committee and Peanut Committee. He also served as chairman of the Georgia Farm Bureau Tobacco Committee for two terms.

In addition to his service to these boards, Mr. Howell served as the Cook County Farm Bureau President for 30 years. Mr. Howell was active in 4-H and FFA, and is an Honorary Georgia Young Farmers Member.

Mr. Howell is a founding member of the Cook County Livestock Association.

After Mr. Howell’s service in the Navy, he went to Abraham Baldwin Agricultural College. He then married his wife of 61 years, the late Irma Lee How ell. The Howells have a son, Bruce, who helps him with the pecan trees; a daughter, Teresa; and sever al grandchildren and great-grandchildren.

The Howell family members have continued to contribute within the Cook County Livestock Associ ation over the years in many ways.

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Additional district winners of the Outstanding Georgia Peanut Farmer of the Year award included: District 1 – Bob McLendon, Leary; District 3 – Ralph Sandeford, Midville; District 4 – James and Dean Mc Cranie, Eastman; and District 5 – Ronnie Lee, Bron wood. These farmers received a sign to display at their farm and a gift card from Agri Supply and the Georgia Peanut Commission.

South Georgia AG –Raised in the DIRT | 29
LeRoy Howell Bruce Howell of Adel accepts the Outstanding Georgia Pea nut Farmer of the Year Award for District 2 on behalf of his father, LeRoy Howell. The award was presented by the Geor gia Peanut Commission during the 45th annual Georgia Pea nut Farm Show and Conference, Jan. 20, 2022, at the Univer sity of Georgia Tifton Campus Conference Center. Pictured left to right: Armond Morris, Georgia Peanut Commission chairman and board member representing District 2, Bruce Howell, and Matt Cato, Agri Supply representative. LeRoy Howell, a founding member of the Cook Coun ty Livestock Association, is shown presenting the Su preme Champion Calf Trophy named in his honor to Reid White at the end of Steer and Heifer Judging for the 57th Annual Cook County Livestock Show and Sale, in March 2022.
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South Georgia’s top crops

Topcrops in South Georgia are cotton and peanuts, depending on the year and the prices last season. Corn comes in a distant third in both acreage and revenue. In 2020, the state had 42,439 farms. This includes com modity crops like peanuts, cotton and corn, fresh produce like greens, beans and squash and timber farms

Rounding out the top 4 seasonal crops is hay production. Hay is somewhat misleading because many farmers who produce peanuts come along later and gather the dried goober vines into bales as peanut hay. This is fed to livestock.

The true No. 4 on Georgia’s crop list is something that is both farmed on large stretches of land, small farms and even down to a single plant in the backyard. Pecans run neck and neck with corn for harvested tonnage each year but are well behind corn in the prices paid to the producer.

Pecan prices are heavily dependent on the weather. A dry summer means fewer backyard pecans and the price goes up. A wet summer means the trees can produce a bumper crop and the price drops. At the same time, a wet fall during the harvest can ruin nuts, which may send prices back up.

Angus

Circle G Angus Farm ranked fifth in Angus registrations for Georgia during 2022

Circle G Angus Farm, Adel, ranked as fifth larg est in registering the most Angus beef cattle in Georgia with the American Angus Associ ation® during fiscal year 2022, which ended Sept. 30, according to Mark McCully, Association chief executive officer.

Angus breeders across the nation in 2022 registered 304,822 head of Angus cattle. “Our Association mem bers lead the industry in adopting new technology and breeding the most problem-free cattle for their cus tomers,” McCully said. “Cattlemen across the country

continue to find registered Angus seedstock are the most profitable option for their herd.”

ANGUS MEANS BUSINESS. The American Angus As sociation is the nation’s largest beef breed organiza tion, serving more than 25,000 members across the United States, Canada and several other countries. The Association provides programs and services to farm ers, ranchers and others who rely on Angus to produce quality genetics for the beef industry and quality beef for consumers. For more information about Angus cat tle and the Association, visit www.ANGUS.org.

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As Southwest Georgia’s No. 1 crop, cotton is definitely king. At the Georgia Cotton Commission in Perry, Executive Director Taylor Sills and his staff keep a watchful eye on this ancient crop.

This year is proving to be a rough one. Mr. Sills said he spoke to one farmer who said this is the most expensive crop he has ever grown and it is the most expensive for his father and his grandfather, even factoring in inflation.

“To grow, inputs are way up,” he said. “UGA economists said - and these numbers are back in the spring - it would take $1,200 to $1,300 to grow an acre of cotton. That was $200-$300 up then.”

No doubt with the harvest yet months away, the price is higher.

“A lot of it is diesel. A lot of it is fertilizer. A lot of that comes from overseas, Russia and Belarus. That situation has put things into a tailspin,” he said.

Weather has a lot to do with yields, so get ting a per-acre yield depends on the weather. The US Department of Agriculture is predict ing an average harvest of 914 pounds per acre this year for Georgia. Mid July, the mar ket price for cotton was 1.09 per pound and that was down about 40¢ over the past few months. That comes to about $996 per acre

for the cotton.

Running those numbers shows some farmers stand to lose money this year.

The situation is not that simple. Irrigated cotton generates higher yields than dryland cotton. Irrigated cotton is also more expen sive to produce.

Fortunately, cotton is more than just the fibers. Cotton seed is a valuable commodity as well. Prices as of this article were around $170-$180 per ton.

BANKING

In South Georgia, cotton and peanuts are the biggest part of banking. While direct loans and financial services to banks accounts for a sizable chunk of rural bank business, Mr. Sills said the rollover effect is even greater.

Rollover means the number of times a dol lar is used in a community before it leaves the area. While a farmer may borrow money from a bank, he will spend that to buy fuel, fertilizer, seed, hire people to help with the crop and other expenses. The farmer will take his profit to pay himself, his household bills and with some luck set some back to help grow the next crop. All the money he spends goes out to salaries for people work ing where the farm does business, taxes for those people and their businesses and so on.

“A farmer’s money makes more revolu tions in a community than you might think,”

Cotton 36 | South Georgia AG –Raised in the DIRT

he said.

Cotton as a cash crop generates more than $200 million in the South Central Georgia region. “That is in cotton and cotton seed alone. It even trickles into communities like Macon and Atlanta. In any given year, cotton represents a billion dollars in farm value,” Mr. Sills said.

The Georgia Bankers Association has an ag committee to discuss ag markets and the potential impacts to the bank ing industry.

“A lot of our farmers can’t do it without lenders. Some can, but they are few and far between,” he said. The same can apply to community

banks that rely

on farmers and the loans they take out. Rural banks that can live without farmers are indeed few and far between.

COTTON PROGRAM

For a while King Cotton was not in the Farm Bill for price supports. It got back into the 2018 Farm Bill, but it also comes with something called a PLC, Price Loss Coverage. The PLC only kicks in when the price of lint, the ginned fi bers a farmer sells, hit a certain point.

“We are still a long ways from triggering the PLC pay ment. We are outside of the farm safety net. As of right now, the cotton program is not citing taxpayers much of anything,” Mr. Sills said.

THE PRICE OF JEANS

A good way to look at cotton is in the price of jeans. Of course, the price is going to vary hugely. Just to use a round number, say the average cost is $25.

Figure a pair of jeans weighs 2.25 pounds. With cotton at $1.09 a pound, the farmer gets about $2.45 per pair of jeans.

If a bale of cotton weighs 500 pounds, you can get 222 pairs of jeans from that bale, with maxi mum efficiency in the manufac turing process. Reality says the process sees some waste, which means fewer jeans from that bale. Because the farmer is paid by weight, he still gets about $2.45 per pair of jeans.

South Georgia AG –Raised in the DIRT | 37
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