Whether it involved farm practices, hardware, software, footwear, headgear or food, the 2022 Sunbelt Agricultural Expo was there to make sure its visitors had access to the latest, and Georgia Farm Bureau, located just inside the front gate in the Georgia Agriculture Building, was front and center Oct. 18-20 in Moultrie.
GFB welcomed tens of thousands of Expo patrons from the Southeast and beyond with open arms, with free peanuts, GFB swag and information about the state’s largest general farm organization, including its I Farm. I Vote. campaign.
One of GFB’s own, 8th District Director Scotty Raines, was honored as the Swisher Sweets Sunbelt Expo Georgia Farmer of the Year during the Willie B. Withers Sunbelt Luncheon, where state winners from Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Kentucky, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee and Virginia were introduced. Virginia’s Robert Saunders, a horticulture and fruit producer from Piney River in the western portion of the state, was named Southeastern Farmer of the Year.
GFB President Tom McCall competed in the Sunbelt Milking Contest against Alabama Farmers Federation President Jimmy Parnell and American Farm Bureau President Zippy Duvall. Duvall, a former dairyman, won the event and McCall finished second.
Arkansas made its second appearance as the Sunbelt Spotlight State. Part of the state’s exhibit was Arkansas Farm Bureau's AgTech Training Lab, which has heavy equipment simulators that are used to train FFA students across the state. Inside the Spotlight State Building, Arkansas shared its agriculture and tourism. The state is the nation’s largest producer of rice, second in turkey production and third in broilers and cotton. At the Withers lunch, Arkansas Deputy Secretary of Agriculture Cynthia Edwards gave away a genuine Arkansas diamond from the United States’ only producing diamond mine to one lucky attendee.
During the Withers Lunch, Sunbelt Executive Director Chip Blalock presented Gary Black with a plaque in appreciation for Black’s efforts to support the state’s agriculture during his three terms as commissioner of agriculture.
Telfair County peanut grower Leslie Jones urges drivers to be patient when they get behind farmers driving equipment on the road. Jones spoke during the Yield Behind the Wheel press conference the Georgia Governor’s Office of Highway Safety held Oct. 19
“Some drivers think farmers can pull completely onto the side of the road to let them pass, but we can’t always do that. A lot of our equipment is too wide for us to pull completely over. We also have to be careful about where we pull over to protect our tires, which cost two to three thousand dollars per tire on some of this equipment,” Jones said. “We have to look for safe places to pull over. Sometimes we have to come to a complete stop in the road if there’s oncoming traffic or if there’s a signpost on the side of the road. I know we’re in a hurry up world, but I ask drivers to be patient with us as we drive our equipment to our different fields.”