GFB Members Elect 2017 Board of Directors
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Jennifer Whittaker, firstname.lastname@example.org
MACON, GA. – Georgia Farm Bureau voting delegates elected the organization’s 2017 board of directors Dec. 6 during the 79th Annual GFB Convention held on Jekyll Island. GFB voting delegates elected Gerald Long to a two-year term as president of the organization. He began serving as GFB president on Jan. 12, 2016, when former GFB President Zippy Duvall resigned after being elected president of the American Farm Bureau Federation.
Long, of Bainbridge, is a diversified farmer who raises cattle and grows peanuts, vegetables, corn, cotton, hay, small grains and timber with his family on their farm near Bainbridge. He was first elected to the GFB Board of Directors in December 1999 as a GFB 9th District director representing 14 counties in Southwest Georgia. In 2006, GFB voting delegates in the 53 counties in GFB’s Southern Region elected Long as GFB South Georgia vice president, a position he held until Jan. 12. Additionally, GFB voting delegates statewide designated Long to serve as GFB 1st vice president each year from 2008 – 2015.
A Farm Bureau member since 1970, Long currently serves on the Decatur County Farm Bureau Board of Directors; he is a past president, vice president and secretary/treasurer of the Decatur County Farm Bureau.
Long and his wife, Janice, have three adult children: Justin and daughter-in-law, Kelli; Jared and daughter-in-law, Lori; and Jeanie and son-in-law, Diego Izurieta; and two grandchildren. The Longs are members of the First Baptist Church of Bainbridge where Long has served as a deacon and on numerous committees.
In addition to his Farm Bureau leadership, Long is a member of the Georgia Cattlemen’s Association and serves on the board of the Decatur County Cattlemen’s Association. Prior to becoming GFB president, he represented Georgia Farm Bureau on the Georgia Beef Board and served as treasurer of the board.
Long was a founding board member of both the Georgia Peanut Producers and the Georgia Fruit & Vegetable Growers Association, and the Flint River Water Planning Policy Center. He also serves on the Decatur County Industrial Development Authority. He attended Abraham Baldwin Agricultural College where he majored in crop science and animal science. He then served six months of active duty in the Georgia Army National Guard and six years of reserve duty.
GFB members in the organization’s South Georgia Region elected Daniel Johnson of Pierce County to represent their region on the Georgia Farm Bureau Board of Directors for a three-year term. The GFB South Georgia Region is comprised of 53 counties in the lower third of the state running from the Alabama state line to the Georgia coast. Johnson, who grows tobacco, cotton and peanuts, previously represented the organization’s 10th District on the GFB Board of Directors since 2006 and has served as president of the Pierce County Farm Bureau for the past 24 years.
A Farm Bureau member since 1982, Johnson served on the Georgia Farm Bureau Young Farmer Committee from 1988-1989 and served as committee vice chairman in 1989. He has also served on the Georgia Farm Bureau Cotton and Tobacco Advisory Committees.
In addition to his Farm Bureau leadership, Johnson serves as chairman of the Georgia Tobacco Commission and is a director of the Georgia Tobacco Growers Association. He is a member of the Georgia Young Farmers Association for which he has served as treasurer, vice president and president. He is a director of the Coastal Pines Technical College and a director of Southern Pullers, a truck and tractor pulling organization. Johnson has twice been named the Sunbelt Exposition Georgia Farmer of the Year. Johnson and his wife, Patricia, have four children, Lindsey, LeeAnn, Dan and Dawson.
GFB voting delegates designated Robert Fountain Jr. of Emanuel County as the organization’s 1st vice president as he begins serving the second year of his third consecutive three-year term as Middle Georgia vice president. The GFB Middle Georgia Region is comprised of 56 counties in the middle third of Georgia between the Alabama and South Carolina state lines.
Fountain previously held the position from 1997 to 2006. Fountain is the third generation to own his family’s farm located in Emanuel and Johnson counties where he raises cattle, hay, timber, small grains and pecans.
Bernard Sims, of Catoosa County, is beginning the third year of his third, three-year term as North Georgia vice president. Sims, who was first elected in 2008, represents 49 counties in north Georgia. Sims, who also serves as the Catoosa County Farm Bureau president, grows turf grass, small grains, strawberries, hay and beef cattle.
In district director races Randy Ruff of Elbert County was re-elected to a two-year term on the GFB Board of Directors as a 2nd District director. Ruff, who is president of the Elbert County Farm Bureau, has served as a GFB Director since 2002. After operating a family dairy farm for almost 36 years, the Ruffs recently sold their milking herd and are transitioning into raising broilers, beef cattle and hay. The Ruffs continue to raise dairy replacement heifers.
Lamar Vickers of Berrien County was elected to the GFB Board of Directors representing the organization’s 10th District for a two-year term. Vickers is actively involved in a diversified farming operation in Berrien, Lanier and Cook counties with his brother, Carlos, and his son, Bradley. The Vickers family grows corn, blueberries, cotton, watermelons, peanuts and raise beef cows. He has served on the Berrien County Farm Bureau (BCFB) Board for more than 34 years during which time he served as BCFB president for 15 years.
The following were re-elected unopposed to serve two-year terms on the Georgia Farm Bureau Board of Directors: Wesley Hall, Forsyth County, 1st District; Nora Goodman of Paulding County, 3rd District; Skeetter McCorkle of McDuffie County, 4th District; Matt Bottoms, Pike County, 5th District; James Emory Tate of Jeff Davis County, 6th District; Ben Boyd of Screven County, 7th District; Don Wood of Wilcox County, 8th District; and Lucius Adkins of Baker County, 9th District.
GFB board members beginning the second year of the two-year term they were elected to in 2015 are: Bill Bryan of Chattooga County, 1st District; George Chambers of Carroll County, 3rd District; Marvin Ruark of Morgan County, 4th District; Ralph Adamson of Lamar County, 5th District; James Malone Jr. of Laurens County, 6th District; Gary Bell of Evans County, 7th District; Scotty Raines of Turner County, 8th District; Paul Shirah of Mitchell County, 9th District; and David Lee of Bacon County, 10th District.
Mitchell Pittman of Toombs County was named chairman of the Georgia Farm Bureau Young Farmer Committee. Rhonda Williams of Rabun County was named chairman of the Georgia Farm Bureau Women’s Committee. Both will serve a one-year term as committee chairmen and will sit on the Georgia Farm Bureau Board of Directors.
Appointed officers of the GFB Board of Directors include Chief Operating Officer Wayne Daniel; Chief Financial Officer & Corp. Treasurer David Jolley; Chief Administrative Officer & Corp. Secretary Jon Huffmaster and General Counsel Duke Groover.
Delegates also voted on policy that will direct the organization’s stance on legislative issues pertaining to agriculture in the upcoming year.
Founded in 1937, Georgia Farm Bureau is a membership-driven, nonprofit organization dedicated to serving as the voice of Georgia farmers and rural Georgia. GFB, Georgia’s largest farm organization, promotes Georgia commodities and offers legislative representation to ensure Georgia’s farming future. Its volunteer members actively participate in local, state and national activities that promote agriculture awareness to their non-farming neighbors.