Inside: Georgia Grown. Page 2 Keeping food safe. Page 5 Fried turkey. Page 7 Chocolate flavors. Page 11
North Georgia’s Agricultural Newspaper
‘Tis the season of Christmas trees By Barbara Olejnik Georgia Ag News Staff firstname.lastname@example.org
GAINESVILLE — The Christmas season has arrived. Stores are decorated and full of gifts. Holiday songs are playing on the radio; and Santa waits at the mall. It’s time to think about finding that perfect Christmas tree — one that’s not too tall, not too short and one without a bare spot that has to be hidden against a wall.
The closer it gets to Dec. 25, the more trees will appear in empty lots in each and every town — often being sold as a fundraising project for a charitable organization. The trees are already cut and the operators of the tree lot will often bag them in netting and help load them into the truck or on top of a car. While this is a fairly easy way to select a tree to grace the living room, family room or entryway, many families enjoy choosing a tree from a Christmas tree farm.
Tree farms An outing to a Christmas tree farm can be a first-time experience for younger members of the family or a trip down memory lane for older members. The types of trees found at a tree farm vary and can be specialized per farm. If seeking a particular type of tree, maybe a spruce or a fir, it’s best to check ahead to make sure the farm grows that particular species. The Georgia Christmas Tree Association lists choose-and-cut Christmas tree farms throughout the state. The list can be accessed at http://www. gacta.com. The Georgia Forestry Commission also compiles Christmas tree grower names in the state, and pertinent information about their operations. The listing can be found at http://www.gfc.state. ga.us/Resources/ChristmasTrees.cfm. Another listing of Christmas tree farms in Georgia can be found at http://www.gardens. com/local/christmas-trees/georgia/all. Bill Cook, Michigan State University, Bugwood.org
Live Christmas trees: Ever-popular Fraser Firs will be enjoyed and adorned by many this holiday season. According to the National Christmas Tree Association, Fraser Firs top the list of the most popular live Christmas trees.
Top types According to a poll by the National Christmas Tree Association, the top 10 most popular types of live Christmas trees are: (1) Fraser
See Christmas, Page 8
Johnny N. Dell, Bugwood.org
State bird: The Brown Thrasher is a common bird all along the eastern U.S., but is the official state bird of Georgia. They are known for their bird songs, their appearance, as well as the way they “thrash” about through the leaves for food.
Brown Thrashers, state bird — and more By David B. Strickland Georgia Ag News Staff email@example.com
GAINESVILLE — The weather may be cool and crisp, but if bird watching is your hobby, a species you need to place on your “must see” list is none other than the state bird of Georgia — the Brown Thrasher. The Brown Thrasher (Toxostoma rufum) is in the same bird family — Mimidae — as the mockingbird, and just like its avian relative; they are very good songbirds. The Brown Thrasher has been known to sing approximately 3,000 different bird songs. The birds can be found in Georgia all year, but can migrate
See Thrasher, Page 9
GEORGIA AG NEWS, December 2011
New “Georgia Grown” campaign launched ATLANTA — The Georgia Department of Agriculture’s new “Georgia Grown” marketing campaign was unveiled at the recent Produce Marketing Association annual convention, which took place in Atlanta, Ga., for the first time in more than a decade. Central to the new campaign is a revamped Georgia Grown logo, which has already been endorsed by many of the state’s top produce manufacturers and potential users. Billboards in the city of Atlanta during the PMA convention were the first marketing elements to feature the new Georgia Grown look. “We talked with many of our top growers and sellers to develop a Georgia Grown logo that will be consumer-attractive but also user friend-
ly,” said Georgia Agriculture Commissioner Gary W. Black. “Our vision is that the updated Georgia Grown imagery will be omnipresent wherever Georgia food products are being marketed.” In addition to being seen on billboards around the state, GDA representatives expect the new Georgia Grown logo
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to be prominently displayed on packages of products grown in the state. “We were very excited the Georgia Department of Agriculture asked us to be a part of this rebranding process for an already great program,” said Wendy Brannen, executive director of the Vidalia Onion Committee. “The new logo and overall look of Georgia Grown will better lend itself to Vidalia® onion packaging and marketing collateral developed by us and the other quality Georgia
products.” Among the places that people should expect to see the new Georgia Grown look are on state vehicles, signage at farmers markets, in grocery stores, during statewide expo events and in consumer advertising. The department will also be launching a new Georgia Grown web site in 2012 that will provide producers and manufacturers with instructions on how to best incorporate the Georgia Grown look into their marketing elements.
This new branding campaign introduces the first new Georgia Grown look in more than 12 years. There will also be variations of the logo that are specific to different industries. “We have so many great products here in our state that are all Georgia Grown — apples, blueberries, peaches, peanuts, pecans, Vidalia onions, tomatoes, watermelons and many more — and we are proud to tout their Georgia ‘roots’,” Black said.
Fresh Summit donates produce to food bank for those in need ATLANTA — Thousands of economically challenged Atlanta residents will be eating better thanks to donations from the recent Produce Marketing Association Fresh Summit International Convention & Exposition, held here in Atlanta. More than 316,000 pounds of surplus produce from the exposition went to the Atlanta Community Food Bank, which is one of 200 in the Feeding America food bank network. “A donation of this size and quality is very important to us,” said Bill Bolling, founder and executive director of the Atlanta Community Food Bank. “One of our goals is to increase the amount of fresh produce we’re able to provide to our partner agencies and those who have a hard time accessing it, so we are truly grateful to PMA and the vendors for offering this excess to us.” The Food Bank spent months planning the logistics for gathering and distributing the produce to 140 of their partner agencies and sharing it with three other Georgia food banks, the group noted, adding that, it took an entire fleet of trucks and more than 200 volunteers to pick up the produce and get it distributed to the agencies that provided the food to people in need. As the economy has struggled, the Food Bank’s partner agencies have reported an unprecedented increase in the number of families coming to them for help. Distribution numbers at the Food Bank certainly confirm that. This past fiscal year, which ended in June 2011, the Food Bank distributed 34 percent more food and grocery products to its partner agencies than in the prior fiscal year — nearly 30 million pounds.
Fresh fruits and vegetables are especially prized as the entire Feeding America food bank network is focusing more on acquiring more fresh-food donations. Bolling said this donation is a perfect example of the role the food industry can play to ensure people in need are receiving healthy food. “This gives our agencies an opportunity to handle the best of the best in fruits and vegetables,” Bolling said. “The key for us is that it isn’t just about how many pounds of food we can get out, but the type of food and whether or not it is healthy. With this donation, we know a lot of people will be enjoying foods they don’t often get a chance to try.” Each year PMA’s exhibitors donate produce from the trade show to local food banks. PMA has donated to The Atlanta Community Food Bank, each time Fresh Summit has been held in Atlanta. “Our members are very much aware of the important role they play in feeding the hungry in Fresh Summit host cities,” said Bryan Silbermann, PMA president and CEO. “They bring the highest quality produce they have to display at the show and are careful not to give it all out to attendees at the end, knowing that there are trucks waiting to distribute it in the area. This is part of our collective corporate responsibility and our mission to do our part in sharing our healthy, flavorful product with those in need.” More information about the Produce Marketing Association can be obtained at http://www.pma. com.
GEORGIA AG NEWS, December 2011
How to deal with insect pests in the cupboard By Michael Wheeler Special to Georgia Ag News
GAINESVILLE — One of the worst feelings felt in the kitchen is the discovery of bugs in a container of flour, rice or beans. Not only is there a feeling of disgust when you see something crawling or squirming in your food, but all of a sudden you feel as if your house is not as clean as you thought. Many times bugs in the cupboard are not due to not keeping a clean kitchen. Often we bring these pests in from a product that is already infested, like bird seed. Regardless of why you have bugs in your pantry, in order to get rid of the infestation you have to find the source. Once you find the food source, you have to get rid of the food in order to stop the infestation. To find the infestation, find all the food that can attract bugs like flour, rice, dried beans, pastas, etc. Wheeler Give each item a light shake. This will either allow the bugs to fall out, or it will make them more active and force them to crawl to the surface of the food and be more visible. If you cannot find the pests in the human food, then look in the dry dog or cat food, birdseed, or dog treats. Bugs can possibly infest other items that have been made of plant or animal origin like decorations, ornaments, potpourri or jewelry. Insecticides can have some effect on knocking down an adult population, but it will not do much for you in getting rid of the full infestation. You have to find the food source that is allowing the bugs to survive in your home. Insecticide use for situations like this is very limited in how they can be used because of the proximity of food in the treatment area. Insecticides should never be applied directly or around food items. If you have bugs that have gotten into something like household decorations or your children’s Christmas ornaments, and you do not want to get rid of them because of sentimental reasons, then place the item in the freezer for six days at zero to minus 2 degrees F. This should get rid of most of the infestation. Cleaning the pantry after the discovery of an infestation is important. Wipe up or vacuum all crumbs and food pieces. All food products should be stored in a tightly sealed container or in the freezer. The date of purchase should be written on the container so you can use the oldest product first. If there is a spill in the pantry, clean it up before it attracts bugs and the problem starts all over again. If you have any questions about insects in the home, give your local county Extension agent a call by calling 800-ASK UGA1 (800-2758421). You will be directly sent to your local UGA Cooperative Extension office. Michael Wheeler is the Hall County Extension Coordinator and agricultural Extension agent. He can be reached at 770-535-8293; e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org; or http://www.hallcounty.org/extension.
A tale from duck season past By Caleb Copeland
Special to Georgia Ag News
MURRAYVILLE — For this month’s article I thought I would share a good hunting story with my loyal readers. I have been writing in the column for a while now, and I always try to give the best insight I can on hunting and the season, as well as the phase of the hunting season. This month I want to change it up and give you a behind the scenes story of a duck hunt from last season with me and some guys — since ducks are my next species of interest. By the time you are reading this article, it will be or it almost will be duck season. This time of year has grown closer and closer to my heart with each passing year. There is just nothing like it. I grew up a diehard whitetail hunter, which is all I knew. I was introduced to duck hunting by my cousin and some friends of his; and I was instantly hooked. It is totally different than whitetail hunting. There’s never a dull moment. When the ducks are flying you start working on a strategy on how to bring down the next group. With all that being said, this is the story of my best/worst day in the duck blind. The day before opening day last season, we had planned to go up to Lake Hartwell on a new spot one of the guys had found to try and hunt instead of our usual spots on Lake Lanier. We knew in the duck hunting world we were going to have to get there early so no one would hunt our spot — since it is public water. A few of us get the bright idea we should just go get all our gear together and sleep by the lake in the blind all night. Bare in mind, it is the end of November and it’s cold. It got down to 25 degrees F that night and the next morning, if Avid hunter Caleb Copeland produces the hunting web site D.R.T. Hunting, which can be reached at http://www.drthunting.net.
I remember correctly. So we are on the bank of the lake with a fire going and telling tales. When it gets around midnight, we decide we need Copeland to get in our waders and get to the spot. Well, as you all know I film every hunt I go on. I can’t afford not to with some of the characters I hunt with; so I have my $2,500 camera in a waterproof case and I am carrying it across waist deep water. Now this case advertises to be “waterproof” but I have never tested it. As we were walking across the lake in the flats where it’s waist deep; I find a channel in the lake. It drops down about 2 feet. I am now over my waders in water and my camera case is now a flotation device. I also have a very expensive shotgun across my back that is now completely underwater. Needless to say it was a long walk and
a long night in wet clothes in 25 degree F weather and chest deep water. At about 3:30 a.m., we start seeing lights of on-coming trucks and boats on the shore of the lake trying to get in on our spot. We all fan out to different parts of the cove to shine or flash them off. If you are not a duck hunter, this is when you take your flashlight and shine it in the direction of other people telling them you are already in that spot, they need to find another one. Well we had five people spread out so it looked like we had occupied half of the lake. We shined boats off all the way up until ducks started flying after daylight. We were in a good spot. Several of the readers out there that know me are aware that I am not a night owl. I am someone that likes my sleep. Being up all night, wet, cold, almost ruining an expensive camera and gun, and now having to run people out of our spot; and I start to think, “Is this really worth it for a duck?” By this time it’s shooting light,
See Copeland, Page 9
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GEORGIA AG NEWS, December 2011
Viewpoint A summary of agriculture activities in 2011 By Gary W. Black
Special to Georgia Ag News
ATLANTA — Since January, the Georgia Department of Agriculture (GDA) has been in a whirlwind of activities. In spite of the office I have in our Atlanta headquarters building, I have spent most of the year traveling across this great state — meeting with farmers, producers and consumers to hear from people and share news about Georgia agriculture. Looking back, there have been challenges we have overcome and successes we have achieved; all are helping bring this department, your Department of Agriculture, into the 21st Century. In the first quarter, the GDA created a Strategic Planning Committee that helped us outline and develop a new Strategic Plan for the department. This team consisted of farmers, producers, business owners and other residents of Georgia who worked together to review and evaluate every aspect of what we do. They relayed back to us their questions, concerns and suggestions for improvement. The Strategic Plan touches each division, including many regulatory and administrative activities, and we continue to implement those ideas and proposals back into the department. The year 2011 brought a brand new GDA web site, thanks to our IT staff who worked with Gary W. Black is commissioner of the Georgia Department of Agriculture. He can be reached at 404-656-3645, 800-2825852; or at http://www.agr.georgia.gov.
division leaders and the strategic planning committee to completely revitalize the site. It is our goal to keep making Black improvements and updates so the site is constantly offering new information. A few highlights for the site include faster navigation, easier access to licensing applications (with future capabilities to submit applications directly online) and scrolling links to the day’s top agriculture news stories from around the world. The GDA is thrilled to share the new look for our “Georgia Grown” campaign, including an innovative logo design that is more user-friendly and easier to identify. The revamped campaign will offer much more to Georgia farmers, processors, retailers and consumers. A new corresponding web site will be launching in the beginning of January, and we’ll have a lot more information available in the coming weeks. The newly expanded and renovated Tifton Agriculture Laboratory had a ribbon cutting and dedication ceremony with Gov. Nathan Deal, state legislators and local officials in October. Originally comprising 25,000 square feet, the lab has been expanded to 72,000 square feet including renovation of the original building. It has become our “one-stop shop” for South Georgia — home to a new seed lab, pesticide residue lab,
weights and measures lab, fuel lab and IT data center, as well as the center for our southern field forces. Earlier this year, the first Georgia Food Manufacturer Symposium was held at the Georgia Tech Research Institute Conference Center, hosted by the university and the GDA. The symposium illustrated technological advances in relation to the importance of food safety and touched upon ways the state of Georgia is working to ensure food safety for all consumers. The spring also brought a Nutrition Specialist and Outreach Coordinator to the GDA, Melanie Hollingsworth (some may remember this position as “Home Economist”). This new position has led to a renovated and expanded test kitchen at our headquarters, which will be used as an educational tool to promote the use of Georgia Grown products, a media outlet to test and promote consumer recipes, aid in food preparation training for farm-to-school efforts and serve as a collaborative education tool to promote a healthier Georgia. The GDA is in the process of establishing partnerships through the use of this kitchen, which will benefit all Georgians in the months to come. Social media has become an increasingly important method to reach Georgians and agriculture fans across the country. We have our Facebook account, with hundreds of crop and commodity photos, pictures from GDA activities and special events, links to food recalls and updates on important agriculture news. Twitter users can follow us on three accounts, @GDAFood-
Safety, primarily for food recall updates, @GrownInGeorgia, primarily for information about Georgia crops, products and the Georgia Grown campaign, and @GaAg_Bulletin, where Market Bulletin supporters can get deadline alerts, links to articles of interest or find featured ads. With video being a critical part of social media, the Georgia Agriculture YouTube account was created this year. Viewers can
Corporate Headquarters Poultry Times P.O. Box 1338 Gainesville, Georgia 30503 Telephone: 770-536-2476; 770-718-3444 (after 5:30 p.m.) Fax: 770-532-4894
General Manager Cindy Wellborn 770-718-3443
Editorial/Advertising Staff Editor David B. Strickland 770-718-3442 firstname.lastname@example.org Associate Editor Barbara L. Olejnik 770-718-3440 email@example.com Graphic Artist Courtney Canaday 770-718-3437 firstname.lastname@example.org
see clips from a recent ribbon cutting or an overview from the Sunbelt Ag Expo, meet farmers from the Atlanta State Farmers Market or watch one of our new “What Do You Do?” videos. This series answers that very question, introducing Georgia producers and illustrating how the GDA interacts with these businesses and works for Georgia consumers across the state in a variety of settings, be it at a local retail gas station or inside a large-scale food processing facility. The Farmers and Consumers Market Bulletin continues to bring in more subscriptions and remains in print form, but more subscriptions are needed to create a supportable publication. If you’re looking for a special holi-
See Black, Page 12 Account Executive Stacy Louis 770-718-3445 email@example.com Account Executive Dinah Winfree 770-718-3438 firstname.lastname@example.org
Companion Publications: Poultry Times; A Guide to Poultry Associations; Poultry Resource Guide. The opinions expressed in this publication by authors other than Georgia Ag News staff are those of the respective author and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of Georgia Ag News. Georgia Ag News assumes responsibliity for error in first run of an inhouse designed ad only. Advertisers have ten (10) days from publication date to dispute such an advertisement. After ten (10) days, ad will be deemed correct and advertiser will be charged accordingly. Proofs approved by advertiser will always be regarded as correct.
GEORGIA AG NEWS, December 2011
Tips on keeping foods safe for the holidays By Debbie Wilburn
Special to Georgia Ag News
ROSWELL — Preparing food to share with family and friends is a highlight of the holiday season. But giving the gift of an upset stomach can ruin a holiday. If you’re preparing food, keep bacteria and foodborne illness at bay by following some simple food safety steps. If you volunteered to take turkey and dressing, a casserole or other cooked food typically served hot to a potluck, there are some food safety steps to observe: l Take a cooked, unstuffed turDebbie Wilburn is a volunteer and former Family and Consumer Sciences agent with the University of Georgia Cooperative Extension Service in Hall County.
key and a separate pan of baked dressing to your potluck. Wrap the freshly cooked turkey in foil and immediately put it into an insulated cooler. Do the same with the dressing or casserole. l Put the cooler in a warm place inside your car rather than the trunk. Remember that food is safe to eat when left at room temperature up to two hours, and the clock starts ticking as soon as the food is out of the oven. If you arrive at your destination in less than an hour, you’ll have ample time for safe serving. A safer option would be to cook the turkey and dressing or casserole ahead of time and keep them chilled in the refrigerator. Cut the turkey into smaller pieces to allow it to chill faster. l When it’s time to leave for the party, pack the meat and any cooked casserole dishes with ice or gel packs in the cooler to keep the
temperature at or below 40 degrees F. l After arriving at your destination reheat them to an internal temperature of 165 degrees F (use a thermometer to check the
temperature). l Do not travel with partially cooked poultry or meats with the intent to finish the cooking on the other end. l Traveling with a cooked stuffed turkey is inviting foodborne bacteria. Bacteria can grow quickly in stuffing mix because of the moist environment. And when stuffing isn’t cooked to 165 degrees F initially, raw meat juices will contaminate your delicious
Farm productivity depends on the ‘big picture’ approach By Lynne Finnerty
Special to Georgia Ag News
WASHINGTON — One size fits all — when most shoppers see that label on clothing, it doesn’t inspire much confidence that the garment will suit them. People come in all shapes and sizes. The same can be said of farm programs. One program cannot and does not fit all farmers. What works well for southern cotton growers or farmers in New England is probably not the best way to help Midwestern soybean farmers or western wheat growers get through a Lynne Finnerty is the editor of FBNews, the newspaper of the American Farm Bureau Federation.
difficult year so they can keep putting food on market shelves. Even from one year to the next, different programs can make up stronger or weaker threads in the fabric of the food and farm safety net, depending on volatile markets and weather. That’s why the American Farm Bureau recently sent Congress farm bill recommendations that
call for a “big picture” approach — one that maintains most current farm programs rather than depending on just one or two — to provide a safety net for different types of farmers in all regions. The ax has to fall somewhere, however. A congressional “su-
See Finnerty, Page 13
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dressing. This has disaster written all over it. For more information call the USDA Meat and Poultry Hotline at 888-MPHotline (888-674-6854). Staff will personally answer your food safety questions on weekdays year-round. This toll-free telephone service helps prevent foodborne illness by answering questions about the safe storage, handling, and preparation of meat, poultry and egg products. The majority of calls come from consumers regarding how to properly handle their food, including food safety during power outages; food manufacturer recalls; foodborne illnesses; and the inspection of meat, poultry and egg products. The hotline is open year-round Monday through Friday from 10 a.m.-4 p.m. ET (English or Spanish). Recorded food safety messages are available 24 hours. The USDA Food Safety & Inspection
Service web site is http://www.fsis. usda.gov. Food gifts are fun to make and receive. If you are the recipient you need to use your best judgment about how safe the item is. l Refrigerated food like cheese balls should arrive chilled and be refrigerated promptly. l If you think a gift you’ve received hasn’t been properly refrigerated during the trip, don’t risk making yourself and your family ill. Food gifts that arrive in the mail labeled “keep refrigerated” should arrive cold. l If a perishable food arrives warm, above a temperature of 40 degrees, call the company and request a replacement. l Smoked poultry and hams have a unique flavor but are not protected from growing bacteria — smoked food should arrive
See Wilburn, Page 13
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GEORGIA AG NEWS, December 2011
4-H: Sport training should adjoin the BB gun gift By Sharon Dowdy
Special to Georgia Ag News
ATHENS — If a BB gun is at the top of your child’s Christmas list, a Georgia 4-H gun safety expert urges you to put “target sport safety equipment” on that list, too. “As parents, we would never send our kids out to play in a little league football game without the proper protective equipment,” said Mark Zeigler, who coordinates the Georgia 4-H Shooting Awareness, Fun and Education program, or SAFE. “Target sports also require the proper protective gear, and the most important part of that gear is sound safety education.” Zeigler leads the program’s certified coaches who are trained in youth development as well as shooting education and safety. SAFE coaches teach target sport safety to more than 3,500 students across Georgia. Although he didn’t have a BB gun as a child, Zeigler doesn’t discourage parents from buying one for their child. “It can be an appropriate gift when used under the supervision of an adult and if the child is taught basic firearm safety,” he said. “It’s paramount that children are properly educated first. I
See 4-H, Page 13
Sharon Dowdy is a news editor with the University of Georgia College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences.
BB gun safety: If your child gets a BB gun this holiday season, make sure he or she gets safety lessons, too. Georgia 4-H offers a target sports program.
Make it at Home Recipe
Winter Squash Custard
Proud to be a part of the Hall County Community for over 60 years. Our company has been active in the poultry and feed industry since 1947.
American Egg Board Servings: 6 Prep time: 10 minutes Cook time: 30 to 35 minutes
Ingredients: 3 eggs 1/3 cup packed brown sugar 1/2 tsp. salt 1/2 tsp. pumpkin pie spice 1 can (16 oz.) pumpkin 1 pkg. (12 oz.) frozen winter squash, defrosted 1/4 cup chopped, toasted pecans (1 oz.) Directions: Heat oven to 350 degrees F. Beat eggs, sugar, salt and spice in large bowl until blended. Add pumpkin, squash and pecans; mix well. Pour into greased 2-quart baking dish; smooth top. Bake in center of 350 degree F oven until knife inserted near center comes out clean,
30 to 35 minutes. Serving — serve this fall vegetable dish with Christmas ham, turkey or other holiday meals. Garnish with toasted pecan halves. Toasting pecans — spread pecans in small baking pan. Bake in 350 degree F oven, stirring occasionally, about 10 minutes. More egg recipes may be obtained from the American Egg Board at http://www.incredibleegg.org.
GEORGIA AG NEWS, December 2011
For spicy twist, Copeland’s promotes its Cajun fried turkey ATLANTA — Frying whole turkeys is sort of the Southern version of tailgating before a football game. It is a very social event, like boiling crawfish or grilling out with friends and family. The difference is that you are dealing with 350 degree F oil and a large waterbased bird that can cause the oil to overflow or bubble up if the bird is not thawed and drained properly. Bill Goudey, CEO of Copeland’s of New Orleans restaurant franchise in Atlanta, Ga., grew up in New Orleans and came to Atlanta in 1997, when he opened his restaurants. In his hometown, Cajun fried turkey, rather than baked turkey, is served at Thanksgiving and Christmas. He says that this juicy turkey with outside crispiness originated in the bayous of Louisiana and Texas in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. It wasn’t until the mid-1990’s that fried turkeys became exceedingly popular when Martha Stewart put a recipe in her magazine and cooked one on her TV show in 1996. Copeland’s, whose two Atlanta restaurants are located in Cobb County (Cumberland and Kennesaw areas), has sold more than 20,000 of these Cajun birds in the last 13 years. Goudey gives a few tips for people who want to
cook the turkeys at home: l Thaw the bird for two days and drain it completely. l Inject with poultry seasonings and marinade for 24 hours, then cook in 350 degree F peanut oil. l Make sure the turkey is dry before placing it into the oil, so that the oil will keep from sparking. l Turn off the flame when you put the turkey in or you could get burned. l Watch to make sure the pot doesn’t boil over and is protected at all times. l It only takes 45 minutes to cook a 12 to 14 pound turkey, but the instructions are the most important tool. l When using a recipe, study the ingredients. If you see something in the ingredients that you and your family don’t like or can’t use, then try to think of another ingredient. Cajun fried turkeys are available from the catering and Holiday Specialties menu at both Copeland’s of New Orleans in Atlanta — as well as all over the U.S. for the holidays and year-round, he said. More information may be obtained at http://www. copelandsatlanta.com.
Cajun fried turkey: Bill Goudey, right, CEO of Copeland’s of New Orleans restaurant franchise in Atlanta, Ga., is joined by Copeland’s Chef Macario Bustos, in displaying the restaurant’s popular Cajun Deep Fried Turkey.
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USDA announces highlights for 150th anniversary in 2012 SPRINGFIELD, Ill. — On Nov. 2, U.S. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack visited the Old Illinois State Capitol to announce the year-long celebration of USDA’s 150th anniversary in 2012. Vilsack was in the hometown of USDA’s founder — President Abraham Lincoln — who signed into law an act of Congress establishing the United States Department of Agriculture in 1862. “Through our work on food, agriculture, economic development, science, natural resource conservation and a host of issues, USDA still fulfills President Lincoln’s vision as “The
People’s Department” — touching the lives of every American, every day,” Vilsack said. “As we commemorate 150 years, we will look for lessons from the past that can help us strengthen USDA in the future to address the changing needs of agriculture and rural America.” President Lincoln established USDA because he recognized the potential of America’s farmers to find new ways to cultivate
the land and that with advances in research and technology, America’s farmers and ranchers could provide a safe, ample food supply for our nation and the world, the department noted. In one of President Lincoln’s only speeches on agriculture at the Wisconsin State Agricultural Society on Sept. 30, 1859, he said, “. . . no other human occupation opens so wide a field for the profitable and agreeable combination of labor with cultivated thought, as agriculture.” USDA noted that it is getting ready for a historic year for the department next year. In Febru-
See USDA, Page 10
caLL FoR a FRee quote
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GEORGIA AG NEWS, December 2011
Tips for preparing popular deep fried turkey WASHINGTON — Deep fried turkey, a concept that started in the South, has risen in popularity nationwide. The National Turkey Federation notes that it’s a perfect twist for parties, as well as holiday feasts. To get started, here are some turkey frying tips for both outdoor and indoor turkey fryers. For a deep frying turkey experience that is fun and produces delicious results follow these guidelines:
Turkey size matters Smaller turkeys, 8 pounds to 10 pounds and turkey parts, such as breast, wings, drumsticks and thighs, are best for frying. Size does matter as a 12-pound to 14pound turkey is the maximum size bird that should be successfully deep fried. In addition to
the obvious safety concern of lowering and lifting a big turkey into a vessel of boiling oil, larger birds simply cook longer. The extra cooking time may result in over exposure to the skin, which could be over cooked. If a larger bird (more than 15 pounds) has been purchased, follow these steps for the best results. Detach the dark meat (leg and thigh portions) from the breast and fry the two turkey parts separately. Fry the leg/thigh sections first in oil that has been preheated to the desired temperature (375 degrees F for outdoor propane turkey fryer and 400 degrees F for indoor electric turkey fryer). Cook to an internal temperature of 175 degrees F to 180 degrees F. Remove the dark sections and reheat the oil. Then fry the turkey breast to an inter-
nal temperature of 165 degrees F to 170 degrees F.
Amount of oil Many turkey fryers feature a “fill line” indicating the suitable level of oil to add to the pot, but if that feature is absent from your fryer, follow these guidelines before marinating the turkey: Place the thawed turkey in the fryer basket and place in the empty pot. The minimum oil level should be 3 inches to 5 inches from the top of the fryer. Add water until the top of the turkey is covered. Remove the turkey, allowing the water to drain from the turkey. Note the water level,
•Christmas (Continued from page 1)
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using a ruler to measure the distance from the top of the pot to the surface of the water. Drain or pour out the water and dry the pot thoroughly. If the fryer has a drain valve, be sure there isn’t any excess water in the spigot. Open the valve to drain the water and remember to close the valve before adding oil. There are turkey fryers that don’t require oil. New outdoor, oil-less turkey fryers use infrared heat — a technology popular in gas grills — to cook and the result is a juicy, tender bird with crispy skin.
Fir, (2) Douglas Fir, (3) Balsam Fir, (4) Colorado Blue Spruce, (5) Scotch Pine, (6) Eastern Red Cedar, (7) White Spruce, (8) Eastern White Pine, (9) White Fir and (10) Virginia Pine, with notable mentions to Leyland Cypress and Noble Fir. Ninety percent of Georgia’s Christmas tree production is Virginia pine. The other 10 percent is Leyland cypress, eastern red cedar, white pine and others. Seventy percent of all Christmas tree sales from Georgia Christmas tree growers come from choose and cut operations. Approximately 889 trees can be grown per acre.
If the personal selection method is not to a person’s liking, still another way to find the perfect tree is to order it from a specialty Christmas tree farm and have it shipped direct to the house. Numerous growers who ship Christmas trees can be found by simply typing “shipped Christmas trees” into an Internet search engine. The idea of having a Christmas tree may seem like a fairly modern thought. However, according to the National Christmas Tree Association, the first written record of a decorated Christmas tree comes from Riga, Latvia, when in 1510 a local merchant’s guild decorated a tree in the marketplace.
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Cooking preparation Remove the turkey from the wrapper. Be sure to save the label that indicates the weight of the turkey. Use the turkey’s weight to compute the total frying time. Thaw the turkey completely. Remove the neck and giblets from the two body cavities. Heat the oil to the desired temperature (as stated above). While the oil is heating, prepare the turkey as desired. If injecting a marinade into the turkey, puree ingredients so they will pass through the needle.
See Tips, Page 14
By the 17th century it was common in Germany to decorate Christmas trees with apples. The first account of using lighted candles as decorations on Christmas trees comes from France in the 18th century. The Christmas tree was introduced to the U.S. in the 1800s by German settlers and by 1851 Christmas trees began to be sold commercially in the U.S. Franklin Pierce is credited with bringing the first Christmas tree into the White House in 1853. The first Christmas tree farm was started in 1901 when W.V. McGalliard planted 25,000 Norway spruce on his farm in New Jersey. Today there are approximately 25-30 million real Christmas trees sold each year in the U.S. Almost all of these come from Christmas tree farms. Whether the tree comes from a tree farm, is ordered for shipping or is selected from a local lot, once it is in the home and decorated to reflect an artistic theme or hung with ornaments that have a special meaning for each family member, it will be the perfect tree.
GEORGIA AG NEWS, December 2011
•Thrasher (Continued from page 1)
in the warmer months as far North as Canada, as far East as the Rocky Mountains and as far South as southern Florida during the cooler months. Their physical appearance is, naturally, a rich rust-brown color on the top, two white wing bars, yellow eyes and a cream color breast with brown streaks. The birds can be just shy of a foot in length, with long tail feathers and a wingspan of 13 inches. The Brown Thrasher has a long and downward curved bill, which helps it with its food search. The bird’s search for food is also how it got its name. It can be seen “thrashing” around on the ground through leaves, brush, branches and shrubs for food. They are also omnivores, eating nuts, seeds, berries, earthworms, insects and even small lizards. The University of Georgia Museum of Natural History notes that the Brown Thrasher can build its cup-shaped nest either directly on the ground, or up to about 5 feet high in bushes and shrubs. The nests are built by both the males and females. The breeding season for these birds begins in late March, peaking in May, sometimes extending to July. The female can lay two to six eggs that are incubated by both the males and females for 11 to 14 days. Both parent birds also care and brood the young until they fledge. The young birds leave the nest early, at around nine to 13 days. The Brown Thrasher is also an aggressive defender of its nest, being known to strike at animals and people if they feel threatened.
Attracting If you are trying to attract Brown Thashers to your yard, bird watching experts recommend that you maintain some dense shrubbery.
With food, bird watchers note that you can attract the breed with suet and seed feeders. They are attracted to fruit, corn and even bakery items, as well as mixed seeds and suet. In keeping with their nature, they enjoy finding pieces of crumbled suet on the ground. They also like a source of water, such as bird baths.
State bird The Brown Thrasher’s bird cousin, the mockingbird, is the state bird of Arkansas and Florida. And you could make a pretty convincing argument, especially in the last 50 to 60 years, that the state bird of Georgia should be the chicken. (As a note, the Blue Hen Chicken is the state bird of Delaware, which is another significant poultry-producing state). But for more than 75 years,
the state bird of Georgia has been the Brown Thrasher. According to the Georgia secretary of state’s office, the Brown Thrasher was chosen, by a proclamation from the governor, as the state bird for the first time on April 6, 1935. After a request from the Garden Clubs of Georgia, in 1970, the state legislature officially designated the Brown Thrasher as the state bird. For a bit of trivia, the Brown Thrasher is a common inhabitant of hedgerows all along the eastern U.S., and is considered as a migrating bird of relatively short distances. However, one individual bird of the species was once found in England. And for another note, the oldest age recorded for a Brown Thrasher is 12 years.
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•Copeland (Continued from page 3)
and it’s now legal to start shooting at flying ducks, and there are plenty. We are shooting at ducks left and right. Calling them in when we can over the awful calling of some people hunting behind us. After the morning flight was over we had killed quite a few ducks. We stayed the rest of the day and finally killed our limit. It was the longest day of my life. Duck hunters are a different breed. We are some rough guys that chase a very smart bird that is very resilient. They are magical creatures that can keep you guessing every time you go hunting. The best part about duck hunting is that you do not even have to kill any ducks to have a good time. The camaraderie with the guys or girls you are hunting with is what it’s all about. It’s about getting out in God’s creation and enjoying it for what it is and what he gave us. If you have never duck hunted, it is something that everyone should try. For more info on duck hunting or filming hunts, send me an e-mail at email@example.com. And remember to take a kid hunting or fishing, they are the future of the sport. l (Firearms deer season (northern zone) goes through Jan. 1. Check with the Georgia Department of Natural Resources at http:// www.gohuntgeorgia.com for restrictions.)
GEORGIA AG NEWS, December 2011
Turkey industry trivia, statistics and facts WASHINGTON — The modern domesticated turkey is a result of the industry’s work in genetics, production and processing to produce the bird that graces the holiday table. Following are some facts about turkeys and the turkey industry provided by the National Turkey Federation: l Toms are male turkeys. Hens are female. l During a 25-week laying cycle, a hen normally lays 80100 eggs. l The incubation period to hatch a turkey egg is 28 days. l On average, it takes 75-80 pounds of feed to raise a 30pound tom turkey. l The hen usually takes 14 weeks and weighs 15.3 pounds
at maturity. This compares to the tom, which takes 18 weeks to reach a market weight of 33 pounds. l Hens are processed and usually sold as whole birds, while toms are further processed into products such as cutlets, tenderloins, turkey sausage, turkey franks and turkey deli meats. l Domesticated turkeys are bred to have more breast meat, meatier thighs and white feathers. l Turkeys are raised in scientifically designed, environmentally controlled barns that provide maximum protection from predators, disease and bad weather. l Litter from the turkey production house is rich in
nutrients such as nitrogen and is recycled as an organic fertilizer on farm fields. l All turkeys are both hormone and steroid free. No hormones have been approved for use in turkeys. l Antibiotics have been safely used in animal agriculture for half a century to treat and control disease in animals and to improve the animal’s overall health. Specific regulations govern the safe use and proper withdrawal period for antibiotics. l More than 244 million turkeys are expected to be raised in the U.S. in 2011. l According to the 2007 Census of Agriculture, 8,284 U.S. farms reported turkey sales. l The top 10 turkey producing states in 2010 were
Minnesota, North Carolina, Arkansas, Missouri, Virginia, California, Indiana, South Carolina, Pennsylvania and Ohio. l Turkey consumption has
increased 102 percent since 1970. l In 2010, the U.S. consumption of turkey was 16.4 pounds per person.
•USDA (Continued from page 7)
ary 2012, at USDA’s Annual Agricultural Outlook Forum, the department will formally launch the 150th anniversary commemoration. Throughout 2012, USDA will recognize important events, such as President Lincoln’s signing of an Act to establish the Department of Agriculture on May, 15, 1862, and the July signing of the Morrill Act to establish public land grant universities. Employees in USDA field offices across the country will also celebrate this landmark throughout 2012. USDA has also created a web page, http://www.usda.gov/usda150. The site will give the American people a sense of where USDA has been — and where USDA is headed in the 21st century, the department said. This web page will provide information about events, facts and goings-on related to the anniversary.
GEORGIA AG NEWS, December 2011
New chocolate flavors By Sharon Durham
Special to Georgia Ag News
BELTSVILLE, Md. — New cacao types with unique flavors that are distinctly Peruvian have been identified by USDA scientists. These new flavors could one day be marketed like wine, by geographical provenance. USDA Agricultural Research Service scientists at the agency’s Sustainable Perennial Crops Laboratory and Systematic Mycology and Microbiology Laboratory, both in Beltsville, Md., and Peruvian collaborators found these new cacao plants during collection expeditions in 2008 and 2009 in the Amazon Basin of Peru. The researchers found hundreds of new cacao tree samples during the trips. One of these, discovered by collaborators from Maranon Chocolate, was
Pure Nacional, an old, very rare, and highly coveted variety that has garnered a great deal of interest from makers of fine-flavored chocolates. Chocolate is produced from cacao. This industry covets new and unique flavor sources. Usually, cacao trees are found along rivers, but these gems were found at a higher altitude than normal, and in Peru instead of Ecuador or Venezuela. SPCL research leader Lyndel Meinhardt and geneticist Dapeng Zhang collaborated with the Instituto de Cultivos Tropicales, a research center in San Martin, Peru, to identify the new varieties of cacao. The researchers are studying 342 cacao specimens collected from 12 watersheds and categorizing the DNA of the specimens. ARS and ICT are helping Peru create its own niche in the chocolate industry by working with
San Martin’s Oro Verde cooperative and Maranon Chocolate. Peru’s tropical conditions — 60 percent of the country is covered in tropical forest — make it ideal for producing cacao, and specialty chocolates. ARS is USDA’s principal intramural scientific research agency, and this research supports the USDA priority of promoting international food security. Sharon Durham is a public affairs specialist with the USDA’s Agricultural Research Service in Beltsville, Md. USDA Agricultural Research Service
Chocolate flavors: ARS scientists have identified new cacao types with unique flavors on collection trips to Peru, such as this Fortunato No. 4 chocolate, a fine-flavor product made from the Pure Nacional type of cacao identified in northern Peru.
David Lathem takes reins as UEP chairman TUCSON, Ariz. — David Lathem, president and CEO of Lathem Farms in Pendergrass, Ga., has been elected to serve as board chairman of the Alpharetta, Ga.-based United Egg Producers. Election of officers and the board of directors was held during UEP’s recent annual membership meeting here. Lathem, a University of Georgia graduate, is the second generation operating the family farm started in 1960. He continues to modernize the farm and recently began construction of a new organic pullet and layer farms, which will be added to the approximate 1.2 million layers in convention cages. He has served on the UEP board and committees for several years and was most recently the group’s first vice chairman. He and his wife Lisa have three children. Other officers are Jim Dean, Center
Fresh Group, first vice chairman; Ron Truex, Creighton Brothers, second vice chairman; Kurt Kreher, Kreher’s Farm Fresh Egg, treasurer; Cliff Lillywhite, Oakdell Egg Farms, secLathem retary; and Bob Krouse, Midwest Poultry Services, past chairman. Board of directors members are Steve Gemperle, Gemperle Enterprises; Gary West, J.S. West Cos.; Glenn Hickman, Hickman Family Farms; Gordon Satrum, Willamette Egg Farms; Mark Oldenkamp, Valley Fresh Foods; Roger Deffner, National Foods; Amon Baer, J&A Farms; Terry Baker, Michael Foods; Tad Gross, Hemmelgarn & Sons; Steve Herbruck, Herbruck’s
Poultry Ranch; Tom Hertzfeld Jr., Hertzfeld Poultry Farm; Bill Rehm, Daybreak Foods; Marcus Rust, Rose Acre Farms; Al Schimpf, S&R Egg Farm; Ron Gayman, Hillside Poultry Farm; Mike Puglisi, Puglisi Egg Farm; Brian Barrett, Feather Crest Farms; Dolph Baker, Cal-Maine Foods; Brent Booker, Country Charm Eggs; Scott Braswell, Braswell Foods; Gregg Clanton, ISE America; Terry George, Pilgrim’s Pride; Richard Simpson, Simpson’s Eggs; Roger Seger, Layers Inc.; David Thompson, Pearl Valley Eggs; and Steve Boomsma, Centrum Valley Farms. The United Egg Producers also presented the Egg Producer of the Year award to Bob Krouse of Midwest Poultry Services and the President’s Award to Mitch Head of Golin Harris public relations company. This was the second time Krouse was
named the top egg producer and only the second time that UEP had honored a past recipient. UEP said Krouse was again being honored in 2011 because of the leadership he had shown as UEP’s chairman as well as being the lead negotiator for UEP in working with the Humane Society of the United States to seek federal legislation for national housing standards for layer hens. The President’s Award recognizes and honors people other than egg farmers who have made major contributions to UEP and the egg industry. UEP noted that Head and his team at Golin Harris have managed the UEP Certified animal welfare public relations program for eight years “though some very difficult times while at the same time creating innovative ways in which to put a positive image on the modern egg industry.”
GEORGIA AG NEWS, December 2011
Giving thanks for all our local farmers By Steven Thomas
Special to Georgia Ag News
GAINESVILLE — Well, the farmer’s market season has sadly come to an end. For 25 weeks, Georgia farmers gave us the opportunity to purchase the fruits of their labor. For this I would like to say thanks, and I hope you will join me. The three Hall County farmers markets did well this year. The number of farmers changes each year as some retire and new Steven Thomas is market manager of the Historic Downtown Gainesville Market on the Square. He can be reached at 678-943-4442; by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org; or the web site http://www.hallfarmers.org.
farmers begin production. We did say farewell to a few and some disappeared or moved on to more profitable markets, Thomas now that there are so many more to choose from. Although more markets mean greater opportunities for farmers, I believe that we would rather keep Hall County farmers in Hall County. And this means that we have to support them by showing that they can make money staying here. To do this, I ask that next year we all make an effort to shop regularly at our markets. There are many benefits to
keeping our local markets productive and our local farmers financially motivated to staying here. For us, the consumers, we get access to a vast amount of produce that was picked the day of the market, and it doesn’t get fresher than that. Price-wise, you can’t compare the taste of freshly picked, locally grown produce. It may be a few pennies more than what can be found at the supermarket. However, I have not been able to find a tomato at the supermarket that actually tastes like a tomato — not in a long time. For the farmers, selling at markets close to home means more profits and more time spent farming, rather than traveling to and from markets where they may sell more, and therefore make more money, but then lose a part of that to the price of
filling the tank with gas. And if you ask the farmers, they would rather sell their produce to folks who live where they live. The benefit to the community is also pretty big. It is said that every dollar that stays within the community gets spent four or five times within the community. You give it to the farmer in exchange for fresh produce; the farmer uses it to purchase items from a local retail shop; the retail shop owner uses that dollar to pay a workers salary; that worker then spends the dollar, hopefully at the local farmers market. On and on it goes around. As new markets open, there is an initial outpouring of customers because that market is new to them. As the years go by, the market sees a drop in numbers of customers as the novelty wears
•Black (Continued from page 4)
day gift, a subscription to the Bulletin makes for a unique gift and we now accept new subscribers via our online form. Additionally, to aid in increased sustainability, a Smartphone app is in the works. During the fall harvest season, the Governor’s Office of Highway Safety partnered with the GDA and Georgia Farm Bureau for an “Improving Georgia’s Yield Behind the Wheel” campaign, traveling the state to promote farm equipment and highway safety on Georgia roads. Fair season was a very busy time, with GDA livestock inspectors on-site at every town, city and county fair to help check in animals. We were especially excited to have our new GDA booth set up at the Georgia National Fairgrounds, where fair attendees learned more about what we do, signed up for a subscription to the Market Bulletin or purchased a Georgia Grown T-shirt displaying the new logo. During the National Fair, the GDA co-hosted the first ever Legislative Livestock Showdown event, featuring state legislators paired up with Georgia FFA and 4-H members. In October, the GDA had its first ever official presence at the 2011 Sunbelt Ag Expo. In collaboration with the Georgia Farm Bureau, the new Georgia Agriculture Building is located at the entrance of the Expo, offering the 90,000-plus attendees a look
off. But what really changed? The farmers are still growing fruits and vegetables for us. We still buy fruit and vegetables for our meals. Perhaps it’s just more convenient to buy at the supermarket, since we’re there already. But, it’s neither fresh nor local. Consider a tomato. Picked while still green in Mexico, it is put on a truck and taken to a distribution center where it is cleaned and packed into boxes. From there it is placed on another truck and travels to another distribution center in the states. Here, it is transferred to yet another truck and delivered to your local supermarket. During those few weeks of travel time, the tomato has turned red. However, it still tastes like a green tomato.
See Thomas, Page 14
into our state’s number one industry. Visitors met GDA directors and staff from each of our divisions and listened to presentations from agriculture leaders about various areas of oversight, including everything from termite prevention to roadside markets, food safety to cooking demonstrations. A new partnership with the Georgia Department of Corrections and the Lee Arrendale State Prison has led to a new impound facility in Alto, where the GDA will bring any new horses our inspectors are required to impound. This collaborative effort is a win-win, allowing horses to get needed care and attention while the inmates learn responsibility and skills that will help them find work when their incarceration is over. Most recently, the GDA announced our collaboration with the Georgia Department of Education in our “Feed My School for a Week” campaign. This farm-to-school program will increase awareness about the importance of proper nutrition and healthy eating, while teaching Georgia students more about where their food comes from. For this pilot program, Bleckley, Colquitt and Hall counties will each be represented by an elementary school in their district with the program happening in the spring semester. In the coming year, 2012 will continue to bring fresh, exciting things to Georgia, and I look forward to sharing our news with producers, retails and consumers across the state.
GEORGIA AG NEWS, December 2011
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cold. The exceptions are country hams and dry sausages, which are dry and have a high salt content — both of which are protective. Cookie exchanges are popular — and another possibly an opportunity for foodborne illness. l When you are the cookie baker remind yourself not to eat cookie dough made with raw eggs: don’t even lick the spoon or the mixing bowl. l Ask cookie swap participants to prepackage their cookies in a specific number to minimize how many hands touch the cookies and to protect them from sneezes and sniffles. l In general, cookies are not a food safety concern, but you may want to avoid cookies with a cream cheese filling. Egg recipes such as eggnogs, cream pies and those special cakes made with whipped cream or cream cheese frostings should be refrigerated (40 degrees F or below). If you like to make a traditional eggnog using eggs but don’t want to spring for pasteurized eggs, here is a food safety tip. First, the eggmilk mixture should cook to 160 degrees F followed by quick cooling and refrigerating. Adding alcohol to kill any bacteria is an old wives tale. The holidays are a favorite time of the year. We all love to treat our tummies. By following a few simple precautions, your holiday food traditions won’t be marred by bacteria that could be lurking out of sight. Adapted from: Colorado State University Extension.
just can’t stress that enough.” In the 1983 movie “A Christmas Story,” Ralphie longed for “an official Red Ryder, carbine action, 200-shot, Range Model air rifle with a compass on the stock and this thing which tells time.” Unlike Ralphie, Georgia 4-H’ers use the Daisy 499 model, which is specifically designed for target sports, Zeigler said. “The 499 is so specific, it can’t be bought in stores,” he said. “It was designed specifically to support shooters competing in international BB championship matches.” Though the SAFE program teaches the safety aspects of shooting sports, he says the most important thing students learn has nothing to do with sports.
•Finnerty (Continued from page 5)
per-committee” is meeting this fall to come up with at least $1.2 trillion in budget cuts. Every part of the federal budget is likely to be trimmed. The cuts to the farm bill, including farm, conservation and nutrition programs, could be anywhere in the range of $10 billion to $40 billion. Farm Bureau represents all types of farmers and ranchers in all 50 states and Puerto Rico. Unlike some groups that have called for absolutely no reductions in favored programs, Farm Bureau is taking a more practical stance. It recommends that an equal proportion, 30 percent, of the needed funding cuts be made in commodity, conservation and nutrition programs, with another 10 percent made in the increasingly important crop insurance program. The cuts in nutrition programs could come from administrative changes rather than program benefit cuts. The cost of administering conservation programs also could be reduced by consolidating them. When your clothing budget gets smaller, you don’t stop buying shirts or pants altogether. You look for ways to save here and there. That’s what
“Studies have shown that participating in shooting sports helps kids improve their concentration levels and their grades,” he said. “And it’s the lowest injury rate sport. In 4H, we teach firearms safety mirrored with youth development standards and principles.” Like most 4-H activities, students can compete in target sports on the regional, state and national levels. “Although competition isn’t the goal of the program, when used correctly, competition can help young people develop life skills and positive habits they can carry through life,” Zeigler said. The Georgia 4-H target sports program is open to
fifth- through eighth-grade students for BB and through high school for other shooting sports like archery, rifle, pistol and shotgun. In addition to Georgia 4-H, target sport safety training is available through Boy Scouts, the National Rifle Association and the Department of Natural Resources Hunter Education Program. Conservation programs like Ducks Unlimited and the National Wild Turkey Federation also offer programs for youths to develop interest in shooting sports. For more information on the Georgia 4-H SAFE Program, contact your local University of Georgia Cooperative Extension office at 800-275-8421.
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Farm Bureau is asking Congress to do with cuts to farm bill programs — spread them around, but still keep everyone “covered.”
‘Safety net’ Some say farmers don’t need a safety net, because this year’s market prices are high for most commodities. But, so are production costs. Also, cotton and wheat yields are low, in some places nonexistent, because of drought in the Southern Plains. If a farmer doesn’t have a crop or livestock to sell, good prices don’t benefit him much. Through the current dual structure of risk management and income support programs, the farmer can make it through to another year, ensuring that all of us have a top-quality, stable and economical food supply. The farm safety net has evolved over the last seven decades. And it will continue to change, as it should — to make farm programs work their best in today’s budget environment. However, Congress should maintain the complete suit of current farm programs. Even a thinner coat keeps you warmer than none at all.
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GEORGIA AG NEWS, December 2011
Georgian elected as FFA National officer INDIANAPOLIS — Cain Thurmond of Jefferson, Ga., has been elected to serve as National FFA Southern Region vice president. The election was held during the recent 84th National FFA Convention. Thurmond, the son of Phil and Susie Thurmond, is a freshman at the University of Georgia majoring in agricultural and applied economics. He is a member of the Jefferson High School FFA chapter in Jefferson, Ga., led by Ken Bray, David Calloway and Cliff Tippens. As part of the national officer team, Thurmond and his fellow officers for the next year will collectively travel more than 100,000 miles throughout the country as they engage leaders in business, government and education; and lead personal
growth and leadership training seminars for FFA members. The team will also help set policies that will shape the future of the National FFA Organization and promote agricultural literacy in general. Nominees for national office must first qualify at the state level to represent their state FFA association. At the national FFA convention, candidates participate in five rounds of interviews, take an in-depth written test and complete two writing exercises. A panel of nine state FFA officers comprises a nominating committee that recommends the six national FFA officers to a group of 450 FFA convention delegates. Other national FFA officers are from New Mexico, Minnesota, New York, Wisconsin and Idaho.
•Thomas (Continued from page 12)
At the farmers market, the tomato is picked ripe on the day that is sold to you. I’ve noticed that there are a good number of regulars at the market. These folks come by week after week. Some are anxiously awaiting the first tomato, the first corn and the first picking of okra. Some are buying just enough for a dinner or two, and some are buying boxes and bushels for canning. To all of you (and you know who you are) I want to give my biggest thanks and ask that you keep on supporting our local farmers. For those of you who come by occasionally, I would like to ask that you commit to making a weekly visit to our local farmers markets part of your routine. It is more than just a shopping trip; it’s a social event. You get to talk to the people who grow your food, and while you’re there you run into friends and neighbors. Share some time walking around in the fresh air and sunshine and catch up with what’s going on around town. By immersing yourself in a community activity you become more a part of your community. In the three years that I’ve been managing the Downtown Market, I believe that I have met just about everybody in Gainesville and made many friendships that will last for years to come. So, next year please make a local farmers market a part of your weekly social life. You will benefit, our farmers will benefit and our community will benefit, too. And thank you all for another wonderful year.
•Tips (Continued from page 8)
Even so, you may have to strain the mixture to remove larger portions. For whole turkeys, inject 60 percent marinade deep into the breast muscles, 30 percent into the leg and thigh muscles and 10 percent into the meaty wing section. Do not inject the marinade just under the skin as a water-based marinade will result in the hot oil popping and splattering. Remove any excess fat around the neck to allow the oil to flow through the turkey. Remove the wire or plastic truss that holds the legs in place (if applicable). Cut off the wing tips up to the first joint and cut off the tail. Remove the pop-up timer from the breast (if applicable). Do not stuff turkeys for deep frying. To reduce spattering, thoroughly dry the interior and exterior of the bird. After adding marinades and/or seasonings, place the turkey in a clean roasting pan on the countertop for no
more than 30 minutes to 45 minutes. This allows the marinades and seasonings to permeate the turkey and raises the turkey’s internal temperature so as to create less splatter during the frying process.
Test for doneness Remove the turkey and check the internal temperature with a food thermometer. The internal temperature should be 165 degrees F to 170 degrees F in the breast and 175 degrees F to 180 degrees F in the thigh. Additional safety tips Never leave the turkey fryer unattended during the heating, cooking and cooling process. Keep children and pets away from the cooking area at all times. Allow the oil to cool completely before disposing or storing. Immediately wash hands, utensils, equipment and surfaces that have come in contact with raw turkey. Turkey should be consumed immediately and leftovers stored in the refrig-
erator within two hours of cooking.
Oil selection Only oils that have high smoke points should be used. Such oils include peanut, refined canola, corn oil and sunflower. Canola oil is low in saturated fats and would be appropriate to combine with peanut oil if fat and cholesterol are a concern. Oil filtering These high smoke-point oils allow reusing the oil with proper filtration. Depending on the recipe used, remember to filter the oil . . . not just strain it. Allow the oil to cool overnight in the covered pot. The first step is to strain the cooled oil through a fine strainer. If a breading, spice or herb rub are used in the preparation of the turkey, it will be necessary to further filter the oil through fine cheesecloth. Oil storage Oil should be covered and refrig-
erated to prevent it from becoming rancid. Peanut oil is more perishable than other oils and must be stored in the refrigerator if kept longer than one month. Peanut oil may even be frozen. The oil will thicken when it is chilled, but will return to its original consistency when reheated. The oil will also develop a cloudy appearance that may remain when brought back to room temperature and will only clear up temporarily while heated. The oil may remain in the refrigerator for several months or until signs of deterioration begin.
Oil shelf life According to the Texas Peanut Producers Board, peanut oil may be used three or four times to fry turkeys before signs of deterioration begin. Such indications include foaming, darkening or smoking excessively, indicating the oil must be discarded. Other signs of deteriorated oil include a rancid smell and/or failure to bubble when food is added. More information on deep frying turkey with peanut oil can be found at http:// www.louana.com and www.crisco.com.
GEORGIA AG NEWS, December 2011
FFA members encouraged to pursue agriculture careers INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. — U.S. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack recently spoke to the 84th National FFA Convention here about the critical need to recruit and support the nation’s next generation of farmers and ranchers. “America’s producers are the most productive and successful in the world — with a willingness to embrace change, new science and innovative technologies to fulfill the noble task of feeding a nation,” Vilsack said. “To continue that success, we need organizations like FFA working creatively to build policies, structures and institutions that will ensure the next generation can continue to feed and fuel the world.” USDA’s focus on developing new generations of beginning farmers and ranchers is a result of America’s aging farming community. In the last five years there has been a 20 percent decrease in the number of farmers under 45. Today the average American farmer is 57, whereas five years ago it was 55. Today, nearly 30 percent of American farmers are over the age of 65 — almost double what it is in the general workforce. Vilsack highlighted USDA programs that are committed to investing more resources and energy to recruit the next generation of farmers and to finding strategies to make these beginning farmers successful. The USDA Office of Advocacy and Outreach assists people who want to learn
about USDA’s efforts to support new producers. In the past two years, more than 40 percent of all USDA’s farm loans have gone to beginning farmers and ranchers. The Farm Service Agency provides Beginning Farmer and Rancher loans. These are direct and guaranteed loans to beginning farmers and ranchers who are unable to obtain financing from commercial credit sources. Each fiscal year, the agency targets a portion of its direct and guaranteed farm ownership and operating loan funds to beginning farmers and ranchers. In addition, the National Institute of Food and Agriculture Beginning Farmer and Rancher Development Program provides funding to develop and offer education, training, outreach and mentoring programs to enhance the sustainability of the next generation of farmers, the department said. USDA’s Risk Management Agency is working with partners to support young, motivated entrepreneurs who are looking past traditional ways of bringing products to market, officials noted. Through
RMA funding for the Farm Credit Council, the “Field Guide to the New American Foodshed” was developed to assist the growing numbers of direct-market farms and ranches and also the lenders, accountants and other businesses who work with them. Additionally, the USDA Nation Agricultural Library is working in partnership with the American Farm Bureau Federation to develop a ‘Curriculum and Training Clearinghouse’ at Start2Farm.gov, which will serve as a national one-stop source of all beginning farmer and rancher education and training materials online. “The future of agriculture is bright and will present the next generation with incredible opportunities to pursue,” Vilsack said. “Young people should continue to engage in policy that affects them — but they shouldn’t be limited by it. We need them to think big, innovate and tackle the important challenges facing American agriculture and the nation as a whole.”
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USDA funding will support advanced biofuels WASHINGTON — U.S. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack has announced payments for 156 advanced biofuel producers across the country to support the production and expansion of advanced biofuels. “This funding will help local producers increase the production and availability of renewable energy and thus help our nation begin to reduce its reliance on foreign oil,” Vilsack said. “Just as importantly, USDA’s support will help to further develop the nation’s growing biofuels industry and generate green jobs and economic growth.” The funding is being provided through USDA’s Bioenergy Program for Advanced Biofuels program. Under this program, payments are made to eligible producers to support and ensure an expanding production of advanced biofuels. Payments are based on the amount of biofuels a recipient produces from renewable biomass, other than corn kernel starch. Eligible examples include biofuels derived from cellulose; crop residue; animal, food and yard waste material; biogas (landfill and sewage waste treatment gas); vegetable oil; and animal fat. Through this and other programs, USDA is working to support the research, investment and infrastructure necessary to build a biofuels industry that creates jobs and conserves natural resources across America, the department said. In Dubuque, Iowa, Western Dubuque Biodiesel LLC received a $487,871 payment. This biodiesel production facility produces 30 million gallons per year using soybean oil, canola oil and tallow esters as feedstock. The operation is expected to save 18 jobs, USDA said. In Kinsale, Va., the Potomac Supply Corp. received a $36,530 payment for producing two types of advanced biofuels: fuel pellets and dry kiln. Both are made from clean pine chips, sawdust and shavings feedstock. The payment will help save 10 jobs, USDA said. The department announced $44.6 million in payments to 156 local producers and business-owners. The recipients in Georgia include: l Appling County Pellets LLC: $170,092.52 for pellets. l Down To Earth Energy LLC: $6,507.46 for biodiesel trans esterification. l Nittany Biodiesel: $22,641.50 for biodiesel trans esterification.
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GEORGIA AG NEWS, December 2011
Whelchelâ€™s Barber Shop The best little barber shop in Georgia
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Harold Whelchel started trend by owning 1st Barber College in Gainesville. (photo left) Son Buddy Whelchel continues the trend by opening the Thompson Bridge shop in 1970.
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