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November 19, 2012





Paul Beliveau, (478) 474-0679, ext. 5237




MACON, Ga. – Georgia Farm Bureau members will celebrate the organization’s 75th anniversary during the organization’s annual meeting Dec. 2-4 on Jekyll Island.


“This is a milestone convention for Georgia Farm Bureau as we celebrate our 75th anniversary. I’m pleased to announce that Gov. Nathan Deal and Brigadier General Joe Jarrard, commander of the Georgia Army National Guard, will address our members during the general session on Monday morning,” GFB President Zippy Duvall said. “We also have a great lineup of speakers for our commodity conferences on Monday afternoon to discuss production and policy issues impacting the major commodities grown in Georgia.”


All convention events will be held at Jekyll Island’s new convention center, which opened earlier this year. Convention activities will begin Sunday, Dec. 2, when registration and exhibits open at 12 p.m.


The final round of the GFB Young Farmer Discussion Meet will begin at 1 p.m. The four finalists - Matt Bottoms of Pike County, Kyle Dekle of Habersham County, B.J. Marks of Newton County and Clay Talton of Elbert County - were selected during preliminary rounds of the competition held in July at the GFB Young Farmer Conference.


The winner of this contest and the GFB Young Farmer Achievement Contest, which recognizes farmers between the ages of 18-35 for their farming operations, will be announced Sunday evening during the annual awards program. The GFB Young Farmer Achievement Contest finalists are James and Brooke Hitchcock of Washington County, Chris and Marilynn Hopkins of Toombs County and Charlie Sanders of Greene County.


Awards will also be presented to counties and individuals selected as state winners for various programs completed during the past year to promote agriculture.


GFB will award the organization’s highest honor, the McKemie Award, to a county in each of the organization’s three membership categories for having the best overall Farm Bureau program in its respective category.


Carroll, Cherokee, Coffee, Elbert, Habersham, Henry, Jackson, Madison, Newton and Stephens counties will compete for the McKemie Award in the membership category of more than 2,336 members. Cook, Floyd, Franklin, Greene, Jeff Davis, Monroe, Pike, Polk, Spalding, Troup and Washington counties will compete for the award in the 1,393 to 2,335 member category. Bacon, Crawford, Heard, Jasper, Macon, Screven, Upson and Wilcox counties will compete for the award in the membership category of up to 1,392 members.


On Dec. 3, the general session begins at 9 a.m. Gov. Nathan Deal and Brigadier General Joe Jarrard will speak during the general session. GFB President Duvall will deliver his annual report, and Georgia Agriculture Commissioner Gary Black will give convention attendees an update on Department of Agriculture activities.


Commodity conferences featuring 36 speakers, who will address management and policy issues for the major commodities grown in Georgia, will be held Dec. 3 at 2 p.m. and 3:30 p.m. A workshop addressing changing estate tax laws will also be offered at 2 p.m. and 3:30 p.m.


Members will celebrate the organization’s 75th anniversary with a dinner on Monday evening. GFB began when 50 farmers from 25 counties formed the United Georgia Farmers during a meeting on July 31, 1937. The organization changed its name to the Georgia Farm Bureau (GFB) Federation in 1941 after affiliating with the American Farm Bureau Federation in 1939. Since 1937, GFB’s primary goal has been to give farmers a united voice in the legislative arena and provide leadership to Georgia’s agricultural community. Every position that GFB takes on any issue is based on policy approved by Farm Bureau members during the organization’s annual policy development process.


On Tuesday, voting delegates will discuss and approve policy resolutions submitted by county Farm Bureau chapters from across the state. The resolutions the delegates approve will become the organization’s official policy that will guide its legislative efforts next year. Delegates will also elect state officers and the 2013 GFB Board of Directors.


Founded in 1937, Georgia Farm Bureau is the state’s largest general farm organization. Its volunteer members actively participate in local, district and state activities that promote agricultural awareness to their non-farming neighbors. GFB also has 20 commodity advisory committees that give the organization input on issues pertinent to the major commodities grown in Georgia.