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Georgia Farm Bureau presents state awards

Georgia Farm Bureau


 Georgia Farm Bureau (GFB) recognized the best of the organization’s volunteers and county chapters during its 80th annual convention on Jekyll Island. The state award winners were honored for the programs they conducted this past year to promote agriculture.

GFB named a McKemie Award winner - the highest honor given to a county Farm Bureau in recognition of its overall member program - from each of its three membership categories. Upson County Farm Bureau, whose president is Brian Johnston, received the McKemie Award for the small membership category. Toombs County Farm Bureau, whose president is Chris Hopkins, won the McKemie Award for the medium membership category. Hall County Farm Bureau, whose president is Jerry Truelove, received the award in the large membership category. The McKemie Award is a memorial to one of the organization’s former presidents, W.J. McKemie.    

Finalists in the McKemie competition, listed in alphabetical order, for the small membership category were: Bacon, Crawford, Hancock, Heard, Jasper, Macon, Treutlen and Turner counties. Finalists for the medium membership category were: Cook, Dawson, Greene, Harris, Monroe, Pike, Polk, Screven, Troup and Washington counties. Finalists in the large membership category were: Banks, Barrow, Cherokee, Cobb, Coffee, Colquitt, Henry, Houston, Jackson, McDuffie and Paulding counties.

Other state awards presented were the: Outstanding Promotion & Education Award received by Toombs County Farm Bureau; Outstanding Women’s Leadership Committee Award received by Hall County Farm Bureau; Outstanding Legislative Committee Award received by Henry County Farm Bureau; and Outstanding Young Farmer Committee Award received by Hall County Farm Bureau.

Debbie Payne, the Cobb County Farm Bureau (CCFB) office manager, received the organization’s Outstanding Office Manager Award. Payne, who has been employed with CCFB since 1994, was recognized for the work she has done to promote agriculture and Farm Bureau in her local community. Payne is responsible for coordinating CCFB’s agricultural advocacy and Ag in the Classroom activities throughout the year including organizing the CCFB Farmers Market.

Dr. Wendy Fushchetti, an elementary teacher in Banks County, received GFB’s Georgia Agriculture in the Classroom 2017 Teacher of the Year Award. Fushchetti, who teaches third grade at Banks County Elementary School in Homer, was recognized for incorporating information about agriculture into her math, science and social studies classes to teach her students how agriculture impacts their daily lives. She received a $500 award and an expense-paid trip to the National Ag in the Classroom Conference in Portland, Maine, in June 2018.                                                                                                                                                

Eddy Turner of Washington County won the 2017 GFB Quality Hay Contest, which was open to any Georgia Farm Bureau member who produces Bermudagrass hay. Samples of hay entered in the contest were tested at the University of Georgia Testing Lab using the Relative Forage Quality (RFQ) Test, which predicts fiber digestibility and the likeliness livestock will eat the hay. Turner’s winning Tift 44 Bermuda hay had an RFQ rating of 136.  He won the free use of a Vermeer 504R Signature baler for one year courtesy of the Vermeer Manufacturing Company with the option to purchase the baler at a reduced price at the end of the year.

Thomas and Alicia Harrell of Madison County received the GFB Young Farmer Achievement Award, which recognizes young farmers who earn most of their income by farming.

Will Godowns of Pike County was recognized as the GFB Young Farmer Discussion Meet winner.

Josh and Skye Pennino of Hancock County won the Young Farmer Excellence in Agriculture Award.