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November 24, 2014





Jennifer Whittaker, (478) 474-0679, ext. 5334,



Gov. Nathan Deal & Sen.-elect David Perdue to speak Dec. 8


MACON, Ga. – Georgia Farm Bureau (GFB) members will travel to Jekyll Island for the organization’s 77th annual meeting Dec. 7-9. Highlights of the convention will include speeches by Gov. Nathan Deal and Senator-elect David Perdue on Dec. 8.

 “We’re honored to have Gov. Nathan Deal and U.S. Senator-elect David Perdue scheduled to speak to us during our general session on Monday morning. Their attendance at our convention shows they value the $77 billion total economic impact agriculture has on Georgia’s economy,” GFB President Zippy Duvall said.  “We also have a great lineup of speakers for our commodity conferences on Monday afternoon to discuss issues impacting the major commodities grown in Georgia.” 

Convention activities begin on Sunday, Dec. 7 at the Jekyll Island Convention Center with registration at 10 a.m. followed by a memorial service at 11 a.m. to honor county Farm Bureau presidents who died this year. The trade show, featuring booths from many of Georgia’s agricultural organizations and agencies, will be open from noon until 4:45 p.m. The Georgia Department of Agriculture and GFB are hosting a reception from noon to 4:45 p.m. showcasing Georgia-grown commodities and GFB’s Certified Farm Markets.

The recipient of the 2014 Georgia Excellence in Teaching about Agriculture Educator Award will be named at 1:30 p.m. during the Celebrating Agricultural Literacy event, which will recognize efforts by county Farm Bureaus to educate students about agriculture through the Ag in the Classroom program.


The final round of the GFB Young Farmer Discussion Meet, during which contestants age 18 to 35 will discuss a current ag topic, begins at 4 p.m. The four finalists – Heather Brannen of Bulloch County, Brittany Ivey of Stephens County, Cleve Jackson of Floyd County, and Constance Reid of Greene County – advanced through preliminary rounds of the competition held in July at the GFB Young Farmer Conference.


The winner of the discussion meet, the GFB Young Farmer Achievement Contest and the GFB Young Farmer Excellence in Agriculture Award will be announced Sunday evening during the annual awards program that begins at 5 p.m.

Finalists for the GFB Young Farmer Achievement Contest, which honors GFB members actively farming who are age 18 to 35, are Matt and Melissa Bottoms of Pike County, Drew and Shelly Echols of Hall County and Chris and Lori Rogers of Jefferson County.

Trisha Lastly of Madison County, Iris Peeler Barham of Floyd County and Justin Shealey of Cook County are the finalists for the GFB Young Farmer Excellence in Agriculture Award. This award is given to a GFB member age 18 to 35 who derives the majority of his or her income from something other than farming.

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, Elbert, Habersham, Henry, Jackson, Madison, Newton, Stephens and Walker counties will compete for the McKemie Award in the membership category of more than 2,180 members. Cook, Franklin, Greene, Harris, Monroe, Pike, Polk, Toombs, Troup and Washington counties will compete for the award in the member category of 1,300 to 2,179 members. Bacon, Crawford, Hancock, Jasper, Macon, Screven, Turner, Upson and Wilcox counties will compete for the award in the membership category of up to 1,299 members.


On Monday, Dec. 8, the general session begins at 8:30 a.m. and will include remarks from Gov. Deal and Sen.-elect Perdue and GFB President Duvall’s annual address.

Commodity conferences featuring speakers who will address management and policy issues for the major commodities grown in Georgia will be held Dec. 8 at 2 p.m. and 3:30 p.m.

GFB will show “Farmland,” the documentary by Academy Award-winning Director James Moll, at 8:30 p.m. on Dec. 8. “Farmland”offers a firsthand glimpse into the lives of six young farmers across the U.S., including Georgia Farm Bureau members Leighton and Brenda Cooley of Crawford County.


On Tuesday, Dec. 9, GFB voting delegates will discuss and approve policy resolutions submitted by county Farm Bureau chapters from across the state. The resolutions approved by the delegates will become the organization’s official policy and will guide its legislative efforts in 2015. Delegates will also elect the 2015 GFB Board of Directors. GFB President Duvall is running unopposed.

For more information about the GFB convention, visit


Founded in 1937, Georgia Farm Bureau is the state’s largest general farm organization. Its volunteer members actively 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.