GFB Members headed to Jekyll Island for 80th Annual Convention
The 2017 Georgia Farm Bureau Annual Convention will feature many of the activities GFB members have come to expect over the years. The event, to be held Dec. 3-5 on Jekyll Island for the 54th time, also comes with a twist.
Gov. Nathan Deal will speak and GFB President Gerald Long will deliver his annual address during the Dec. 4 general session, and members will have chances to visit with long-time friends, take in the GFB trade show and enjoy the beauty of Jekyll Island, where the organization meets to set its advocacy agenda for the coming year.
New in 2017 is a series of four public policy breakout sessions designed to inform farmers on topics important to all commodities. These concurrent sessions replace the series of commodity conferences held in the past. The sessions on the afternoon of Dec. 4 will feature a political outlook, an economic outlook, presentations on environmental issues and an educational update.
GeorgiaPol.com publisher Charlie Harper will give the political outlook and UGA Professor of Agricultural and Applied Economics Jeffrey Dorfman will provide the economic outlook. Speakers in the environmental issues session are Tate Bennett of the EPA, Mark Masters of the Georgia Water Planning and Policy Center and Georgia EPD Agriculture Water Project Manager Marjie Dickey. UGA College of Agricultural & Environmental Sciences Dean Sam Pardue and UGA College of Veterinary Medicine Dean Lisa Nolan will give the education update.
The convention begins on Dec. 3 with the opening of the trade show exhibits at 11 a.m. The GFB Certified Farm Markets/Georgia Grown Reception runs from noon to 4 p.m. and the Celebrating Ag Literacy Event, sponsored by the GFB Women’s Leadership Committee, takes place from 1:30 p.m. to 2:30 p.m. The GFB Policy Development Committee will meet at 3:15 p.m. and the memorial service/vespers begins at 4:30 p.m.
On Dec. 4, the annual GFB Foundation Breakfast begins at 6:45 a.m.. The event supports the GFB Foundation for Agriculture, which provides college and technical school scholarships, supports Ag in the Classroom programs, consumer awareness and adult learning opportunities.
The general session begins at 8:30 a.m.
At 10:30 a.m., outgoing members of the GFB Young Farmer Committee will be recognized, followed by the Young Farmer Raffle drawing at 11 a.m. and the County Presidents/Secretaries Luncheon at noon. The day’s activities conclude with the annual awards program, which recognizes individuals and county Farm Bureaus for their work to promote agriculture. The awards program begins at 4:30 p.m.
On Dec. 5, the annual membership breakfast begins at 6:45 a.m., followed at 8:15 a.m. by the annual business session, during which GFB voting delegates will finalize GFB policy for 2018.
District director elections begin at 10 a.m. Incumbent directors running unopposed are Bill Bryan (1st District), Bobby Gunter (2nd District), George Chambers (3rd District), Marvin Ruark (4th District), Ralph Adamson (5th District), James Malone (6th District), Gary Bell (7th District), Scotty Raines (8th District), Paul Shirah (9th District) and David Lee (10th District).