April 8, 2015
Vol. 33 No. 14
Georgia Farm Bureau hosted a dinner on April 3 for the eight grand champion winners from
the State 4-H & FFA Market Goat and Lamb Show held last fall and the Georgia Junior National
Livestock Show held in February, handing out $17,000 in prize checks and copies of Max
Lucado's book “One God, One Plan, One Life.”
Georgia Farm Bureau Young Farmer Committee Chairman David Cromley welcomed the
eight grand champions, their families and guests to the GFB auditorium in Macon.
Georgia Ag Education Program Manager Chip Bridges thanked GFB for its work to sustain
youth programs like the livestock shows and discussed the importance of continuing student
agricultural programs. Georgia 4-H Leader Arch Smith spoke on the importance of the students'
support teams, including parents, FFA advisors and 4-H agents.
The students were shown videos from the Georgia Farm Monitor’s coverage of the livestock
shows, as well as a video message from Georgia Agriculture Commissioner Gary Black. More
than 80 people attended the event.
Georgia Farm Bureau President Zippy Duvall shared his thoughts on the grand champions,
whom he encouraged to embrace their role as leaders and mentor their fellow competitors.
“You’ve won a championship and that makes you a leader,” Duvall said. “Y’all have so many
exciting days ahead of you, and you’ll have influence over those who look up to you and are
following you.”
Smith and Bridges presented Duvall with a framed collection of photos of the grand
champions with their animals. The collage will be hung in the GFB Room of Champions at the
organization’s office in Macon.
The grand champions are: Jacob Collins (Houston County, Grand Champion Breeding Heifer,
2015 Georgia Junior National Livestock Show); Maddie Dean (Grand Champion Market Steer,
2015 Georgia Junior National Livestock Show); Payton Jackson (Banks County, Grand
Champion Market Doe, 2014 State 4-H & FFA Market Goat and Lamb Show); Chase Roberts
(Grand Champion Market Wether, 2014 State 4-H & FFA Market Goat and Lamb Show);
Ansley Ruff (Elbert County, Grand Champion Market Lamb, 2014 State 4-H & FFA Market
Goat and Lamb Show, and Grand Champion Breeding Ewe, 2015 Georgia Junior National
Livestock Show); Monica Schaapman (Wilcox County, Grand Champion Commercial Dairy
Heifer, 2015 Georgia Junior National Livestock Show); Gavin Wright (Houston County, Grand
Champion Market Barrow, 2015 Georgia Junior National Livestock Show) and Jessie
Youngblood (Coffee County, Grand Champion Market Gilt, 2015 Georgia Junior National
Livestock Show).
GFB News Alert page 2 of 9
The Georgia Cattlemen’s Association held its 54th Annual Convention and 18th Annual
Georgia Beef Expo April 1-4 at the Georgia National Fairgrounds & Agricenter. The
multifaceted event included Zoetis Cattle College
educational sessions, three different livestock sales
and numerous networking and social opportunities.
The Georgia Beef Expo featured more than 100
exhibitors, and the convention drew more than 800
Western Kentucky University Animal Science
Professor Dr. Nevil Speer led the convention’s
livestock marketing seminar. Noting that 2014 was
an extremely good year to be in the cattle business,
Speer said a similar price run in 2015 is unlikely
but that prices would remain strong, with some volatility.
“We’re probably going to see more ebb and flow this year, and I think we all need to be
prepared for that,” Speer said.
Kevin Oschner, host of the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association show “Cattlemen to
Cattlemen,” gave the luncheon address on April 2, comparing life to an auction. Oschner said
success at auctions comes down to recognizing opportunities, assessing the competitive
landscape, making strategic decisions and taking action.
“I think we have some tremendous opportunities in the beef industry,” Oschner said.
Clemson University Extension Beef Specialist Dr. Matthew Burns led simulated calving
On April 4 Georgia Farm Bureau President Zippy Duvall was part of the Zoetis Cattle College
Hot Topics Roundtable, along with State Veterinarian Dr. Robert Cobb and Van McCall of
AgSouth Farm Credit.
For the fourth straight year the Georgia Forages Conference was held in conjunction with the
GCA Convention, offering educational sessions on fertilization, selecting and establishing forage
crops, hay management and storage and weed and pest control.
UGA graduate student Chris Johnston presented information about problem weeds and what
to do about them, covering herbicide applications that have been effective against pigweed, dog
fennel, thistle, smut grass and others. Johnston noted that many herbicides have haying and
grazing restrictions and emphasized the importance of checking the labels before use.
UGA Entomologist Dr. Will Hudson discussed strategies for dealing with several insects,
particularly fall armyworms, which were especially bad in 2014. According to Hudson, the
armyworms winter in Florida and drift north with weather fronts, and their infestations are made
worse in years when there is little rainfall. The worms consume the green leaves of grass,
resulting in a brownish look to fields they infest.
GFB News Alert page 3 of 9
Rep. Jody Hice (R-10th District) visited Washington County on April 1 for a first-hand look at
the county’s agriculture. Hice’s visit, organized by Washington County Farm Bureau (WCFB),
included stops at one of the farm sites run by James,
Jonathan, Jennifer and Waylon Hitchcock, and cattle
and grain sites that are part of Veal Farms, run by
Amber and Cale Veal. The tour closed with a forum at
the WCFB Agricenter, where area farmers and
agribusiness stakeholders voiced their concerns about
federal policies.
At the Hitchcock barn, where the Hitchcocks store
farm equipment and host events, the Hitchcocks and
WCFB President Sidney Law talked to Hice about the
proposed “Waters of the U.S.” rule from the EPA and
U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, detailed their experiences while enrolling in 2014 farm bill crop
insurance programs and shared their views on the federal estate tax. While at the Hitchcock farm
site, James Hitchcock took Hice for a ride in the farm’s sprayer. The Hitchcocks grow corn and
cotton and raise livestock on a total of 1,300 acres.
Amber Veal talked with Rep. Hice and Georgia Farm Bureau President Zippy Duvall about
her family’s cattle operation, leading a ride through a pasture to see some of the family’s herd
and then to one of the Veals’ fields of wheat. The Veals also run a trucking company. Veal
emphasized to Hice that because farm inputs like water, herbicides and pesticides are costly,
farmers pay great attention to how and when they use those resources.
“Agriculture is one of the biggest aspects of Georgia’s economy,” Hice said. “It’s the heart
and soul of it really. Farmers are facing some real challenges these days. It costs an enormous
amount of money to be productive as a farmer and there are an enormous amount of challenges
and obstacles for them, everything from financing their equipment to the weather.”
At the WCFB Agricenter, WCFB Women’s Committee Chair Rabun Waller, speaking on
behalf of the Washington County Cattlemen’s Association, voiced concerns over federal dietary
standards and the diminishing role of lean meat in those standards.
Duvall voiced GFB’s position on a number of federal-level issues. Duvall emphasized that
Georgia agriculture is extremely dependent on migrant labor, noting that the organization is
opposed to stand-alone legislation that would make E-verify use mandatory. Duvall expressed
support for permanent IRS Section 179 small business expensing tax exemptions at $500,000, as
well as support for a permanent repeal of federal estate tax. He also emphasized that
overreaching federal regulations under the Clean Water Act, Clean Air Act and Endangered
Species Act are posing serious threats to private property rights.
Georgia Farm Bureau National Affairs Specialist Tas Smith discussed the Waters of the U.S.
proposed rule, detailing the “Ditch the Rule” campaign by American Farm Bureau Federation on
the national level and GFB on the state level. Smith noted that the EPA used taxpayer funds to
counter “Ditch the Rule” with a campaign to defend the proposed rule. Smith pointed out that the
EPA and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers are moving forward with plans to finalize the rule
this spring, which would lead to agricultural interests placing more emphasis on legislative
remedies, including the current budget negotiations in Congress for Fiscal Year 2016. The
proposed rule was sent to the White House Office of Management and Budget on April 3 for
GFB News Alert page 4 of 9
The Georgia Pecan Growers Association is partnering with Schwinn Bicycles for the biggest
cross-promotional partnership in the history of Georgia Pecans, according to a joint press release.
The promotion began April 1 and runs through September 30 with
monthly giveaways of Schwinn bicycles, helmets, locks
and Georgia pecans.
The Georgia Pecans/Schwinn promotion was planned to coincide
with National Pecan Month in April and National Bike Month in
In addition, the partners will be represented together at the Produce
Marketing Association Convention in October.
The Georgia Pecans/Schwinn Sweepstakes will be promoted in a
variety of ways, including on video screens in New York's Times
Square. Support will include print advertising, on-pack stickers on
pecan packages, social media and Schwinn cross-promotional
support. The promotion will also be heavily supported by the Georgia
Grown campaign, which represents the statewide interests of Georgia agriculture.
Georgia peanut and soybean growers are expected to significantly increase acreage in 2015
according to the USDA’s National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS) Prospective Plantings
report, released March 31. The acreage estimates in the Prospective Plantings Report are based
primarily on surveys conducted during the first two weeks of March.
The state’s peanut growers are expected to bump acreage up by 20 percent, from 600,000 in
2014 to 720,000 in 2015. That’s part of an anticipated 9 percent nationwide increase to 1.48
million acres.
Soybean planting is expected to expand in 2015 to 370,000 acres, which is a 23 percent
increase over the state’s 300,000 acres of soybeans in 2014.
Georgia corn planting is expected to decline for the second straight year, from 350,000 acres
in 2014 to 305,000 acres in 2015.
The state’s cotton growers are expected to plant 1.1 million acres in 2015, a 20 percent
reduction from 1.38 million acres in 2014.
Georgia’s planted hay acreage is anticipated to decrease by three percent, from 580,000 acres
in 2014 to a forecast of 560,000 acres in 2015.
The state’s tobacco growers, who planted 15,000 acres in tobacco in 2014, are anticipated to
plant 12,500 acres in 2015, which would represent a 17 percent decline.
Georgia’s wheat acreage is expected to increase by 10 percent, from 300,000 acres in 2014 to
330,000 acres in 2015.
GFB News Alert page 5 of 9
As part of ongoing efforts to increase efficiencies of its poultry business in Georgia, Tyson
Foods plans to discontinue operations at its Buena Vista plant in Marion County at the end of
May, according to a company press release. In addition, the company will no longer run a third
shift at its Dawson plant in Terrell County beginning April 10.
These decisions will affect approximately 190 people who work at the Buena Vista location
and about 70 people at the Dawson location. The planned Buena Vista closure is due to a
combination of factors including changing product needs, the age of the facility and the
prohibitive cost of its renovation, the release said.
In January, the company announced that it is making a significant investment in its Vienna
location in Dooly County and changing the focus of its production. The expansion project in
Vienna will add more than 700 jobs when it’s completed mid-year, the press release said.
The company indicated that it will work with state officials to ensure affected employees are
informed about unemployment benefits and any potential re-training opportunities.
The Georgia Agricultural Commodity Commission for Vegetables (ACCV) marketing order
was approved in a referendum held during March, according to a Georgia Department of
Agriculture press release, with 92 percent of ballots in favor of the new assessment.
For a marketing order referendum to be valid, at least 25 percent of the ballots sent to eligible
growers must be submitted as votes. The new marketing order replaces the marketing order that
failed to pass in a 2014 referendum due to a lack of returns.
An assessment of one cent ($0.01) per marketing unit will apply to producers who grow more
than 50 combined acres annually of the specified vegetables. Crops included in the new
marketing order for vegetables are bell peppers, specialty peppers, beans, broccoli, beets,
cantaloupes, carrots, cucumbers, eggplants, greens, squash, sweet potatoes, and tomatoes
produced for sale on the fresh market.
The new marketing order takes effect on May 1 and is valid for three years. According to the
GDA release, it is the vegetable growers’ responsibility to see that the assessment is paid or is
taken out of settlement of vegetables sold. Assessment funds received by the ACCV are used for
research, education and promotion.
GFB News Alert page 6 of 9
The Georgia Peanut Commission is accepting ballots in its reaffirmation referendum. Voting
continues through April 15. State law mandates that a referendum be held every three years.
Georgia peanut producers invest $2 per ton to fund the commission and its research, education,
promotion and communication programs. The last referendum in 2012 passed with an 87.6
percent reaffirmation. Individuals who receive a ballot but are no longer farming are asked to
write, “no longer producing” on the certification envelope and return it to the commission. This
will assist the commission in updating its mailing list. The commission’s address is P.O. Box
967, Tifton, GA 31793. Peanut producers should contact the GPC 229-386-3470 for information
about the referendum or to obtain a ballot.
April 15
Gwinnett Technical College
10 a.m. – 3 p.m.
April 23
Fort Valley State University
10 a.m. – 3 p.m.
Fort Valley
The process of applying for federal grants can be daunting, but extra funding can help farmers
diversify their farms or make them more sustainable or profitable. UGA Extension is working
with the USDA to host two workshops to help farmers apply for grants through the USDA’s
Farmers Market and Local Food Promotion programs. The workshops are free to attend but there
Visit for more information.
April 16-Nov. 20 3 p.m.-7 p.m.
Paulding County High School
Paulding County Farm Bureau is accepting vendors for its weekly farmers market that will be
held each Thursday from April 16 to Nov. 20. There is no fee to participate but vendors must be
Farm Bureau members so the market qualifies as a Georgia Farm Bureau Certified Farm Market.
If you would like to participate in the PCFB Farmers Market, please contact Tracy Grice at
Paulding County Farm Bureau at 770-445-6681 or email her at [email protected] Vendors may
sell locally grown produce or other ag commodities or homemade crafts. PCFB is teaming up
with the Paulding County High School this year to host the market in the north parking lot of the
school located at 1297 Villa Rica Hwy., Dallas, Ga. 30132.
Thursdays until Nov. 19
4-7 p.m.
Downtown Hinesville
This market, sponsored by Liberty County Farm Bureau, offers customers fresh local produce
and other farm items, cut flowers, plants, baked goods, specialty foods, prepared foods, and
original crafts. Market is held in Bradwell Park on Commerce St. across from the Hinesville City
Hall. To apply to be a vendor or for more information call the Hinesville Downtown
Development Authority at 912-877-4332.
GFB News Alert page 7 of 9
April 18, May 16, June 20, July 18, Aug. 15, Sept. 19, Oct. 17
Shields-Ethridge Heritage Farm
9 a.m. – 1 p.m. 2355 Ethridge Rd.
Jackson County Farm Bureau (JCFB) is sponsoring this monthly open-air market that will allow
local farmers and entrepreneurs to sell products they make or grow in a festival atmosphere. The
market will include live music, games and exhibitions of farming practices to entertain and
educate visitors as they shop. Each month’s market will have a different theme. Market will be
held rain or shine. Please leave pets at home. The Shields-Ethridge Heritage Farm is an outdoor
ag museum that functions as an educational and interpretative facility. The farm is unique for its
collection of intact historic buildings that exist in their original location and are listed on the
National Register of Historic Places. Proceeds from the market will be used for restoration
projects at the farm. Vendors will be selected based on quality and originality of product
according to the theme of homesteading practices. If you are interested in having a booth at the
market, contact JCFB Office Manager Denise Temple at [email protected] or call 706-367-8877
or visit to complete an application online.
April 18
On the Square
9 a.m. – 2 p.m.
This event, sponsored by the Newton County Farm Bureau Young Farmers, features a modern
and antique tractor show and lots of family fun. For more information, contact NCFB Office
Manager Crystal Powell at 770-786-7201.
April 21
Tifton Bull Evaluation Center
2:30 p.m.
For more information contact Dr. Jacob Segers at 229-386-3214 or by email at [email protected]
or Patsie T. Cannon at 229-386-3683 or by email at [email protected]
The USDA is conducting a referendum regarding the continuation of the Sorghum Checkoff
Program through April 21. Ballots may be obtained in person, by mail or facsimile at county
FSA offices or via the Internet. Any eligible person engaged in the production or importation of
sorghum from January 1, 2011, to December 31, 2014, is eligible to participate. Individuals are
required to provide documentation such as a sales receipt or remittance form that shows they
engaged in the production or importation of sorghum. The assessment is 0.006 cents per $100 of
sorghum sold. Sorghum grown for on-farm use is not subject to the assessment. For more
information, contact USDA Marketing Specialist Craig Shackelford at 3470-315-4246;
[email protected] Procedures and additional information about the referendum
can be found at:
April 23-26
Various locations
This festival celebrating Georgia’s official state vegetable includes an air show featuring the U.S.
Navy Blue Angels, the Miss Vidalia Onion Pageant, country band Lonestar in concert, the
Golden Onion professional chef competition, the Vidalia Onion Recipe Contest and much more.
For more information visit
GFB News Alert page 8 of 9
April 25
Panhandle Farm
9 a.m.
The heritage of breaking farmland with mules comes to life for the whole family to enjoy at this
free event. Various mule clubs and individuals will give live mule plowing demonstrations.
Antique engines, tractors and implements will also be on display. A local church will sell lunch
and refreshments. Event includes live entertainment. Take GA Hwy. 128 west out of Roberta to
Hwy. 137, turn right onto Hwy. 137, then left onto Milton Lowe Road and follow signs to farm.
For more information call Steve Montgomery at 478-837-1044.
May 1
Deadline to apply
The John M. and Connie H. Mobley Memorial Scholarship is presented to the child or
grandchild of an active Georgia cotton producer. The $1,500 scholarship will be payable onethird each quarter or one-half each semester. The Georgia Cotton Women Scholarship is
presented annually to the child or grandchild of a Georgia cotton producer or a cotton industry
employee. This $1,500 scholarship is also payable one-third each quarter or one-half each
semester. The Georgia Cotton Women Scholarship is funded through the sales of the
organization’s two cookbooks, Georgia Cotton Heritage Cookbook and the newly-released
Cooking in High Cotton. Applicants for both scholarships must have a minimum grade point
average of 2.5 and must maintain a minimum 2.5 grade point average to receive the scholarship
the following term. Applications are available at For more
information email Nancy Coleman at [email protected] or call 229-941-2930.
May 14
The Threatte Center
8 a.m. – 5 p.m.
This meeting will provide a wide range of information to growers and potential new growers
from researchers, support industries and government agencies working in the expansion of the
olive oil industry in Georgia and the Southeastern U.S. Registration is $75 for members and
$150 for non-members. Event includes a farm tour and a silent auction to support UGA olive
research. A pre-conference supper will be held Wednesday night that is $50. To register, visit For more information contact Vicki Hughes at 229-300-9931 or
[email protected]
May 14-16
Young Harris College
8 a.m. each day
Young Harris
This event, one of the most comprehensive beekeeping educational events in the Southeast,
offers classes for beekeepers at all levels of experience and the annual honey show. May 14 is
dedicated training and certification exams for journeymen and master beekeeper qualifications,
as well as the Welsh honey judge training, the first licensing program for honey judges in North
America. May 15 and 16 provide training and certification, including individual and colony
biology, pathogens and parasites, and much more. Registration fee for ages 18 and older is $130
for May 15, $110 for May 16 and $220 for both days. For ages 17 and under, fees are $65 for
May 15, $55 for May 16 and $110 for both days. Two-day registration and additional fees apply
for advanced courses and exams on May 16. Space is limited and classes generally fill up
quickly. For more information, visit
GFB News Alert page 9 of 9
NW GA Research & Education Center
6 p.m.
For more information contact Jason Duggin at 706-624-1403 or [email protected] or Phil
Worley at 706-624-1398 or via email at [email protected]
May 27
NW GA Research & Education Center
12:30 p.m.
For more information contact Jason Duggin at 706-624-1403 or via email at [email protected] or
Phil Worley at 706-624-1398 or via email at [email protected]
Beginning June 6
Tuesdays and Saturdays 8 a.m. – noon, Thursdays 4 p.m. – 7 p.m.
Rockdale County Extension office, 1400 Parker Road
Rockdale/DeKalb County Farm Bureau manages this market with support from the Rockdale
County Extension, set up to allow farmers to sell locally grown products directly to the public.
Farmers wishing to participate can sign up at the Rockdale/DeKalb Farm Bureau office. Vendors
must be current Farm Bureau members in order to participate. For more information or to receive
a vendor application contact RDCFB Office Manager Susanne Bell at [email protected] or call
June 7-11
Abraham Baldwin Agricultural College
The camp, for rising 10th, 11th and 12th-grade students with a desire to learn more about
Georgia’s natural resources and the opportunities and responsibilities these resources provide,
focuses on the value, protection and conservation of Georgia’s wildlife, forestry, soil and water
resources. Tuition is $150 for students who register by May 1 and $175 for those who register
after May 1. The deadline to register is May 28. Georgia natural resources experts in a variety
of fields will lead classroom and field trip activities to help interested young people learn the
basic principles and the responsible use of natural resources. For more information, visit or contact your local office of the Natural Resources Conservation Service,
Georgia Forestry Commission, Georgia Department of Natural Resources Wildlife Division or
UGA Cooperative Extension Service.