GFB Convention to celebrate farmers' resiliency
Less than two months after Hurricane Michael dealt more than $2.5 billion in crop and livestock damages to Georgia agriculture, Georgia Farm Bureau (GFB) members will gather on Jekyll Island to celebrate the resiliency of Georgia farmers during the organization’s 81st annual meeting Dec. 2-4.
“Georgia Farm Bureau has advocated for Georgia’s farmers and rural communities for eighty-one years. Our purpose – to serve as the voice of Georgia’s farmers – is needed now more than ever as Georgia’s agricultural community recovers from Hurricane Michael. Farmers from Seminole to Burke counties suffered varying degrees of damage that will take a while to rebound from, even generations in the case of timber and pecan losses,” GFB President Gerald Long said. “Our convention will serve as a venue for our organization to support our members affected by the storm, get updates on ag issues and determine the positions our organization will take next year on the issues impacting their farms and rural communities.”
American Farm Bureau Federation (AFBF) President Zippy Duvall and Georgia Commissioner of Agriculture Gary Black will address convention attendees during the general session on Dec. 3 between 8:15 a.m. and noon. Duvall served as GFB president from December 2006 until Jan. 2016 when he became the first Georgian elected to lead AFBF. Black has revitalized the Georgia Department of Agriculture’s Georgia Grown program and initiated the Farm to School program since first taking office in 2011.
Convention activities begin on Dec. 2 at the Jekyll Island Convention Center with registration at 10 a.m. The trade show, featuring booths from many of Georgia’s agricultural organizations and agencies, will be open from 11 a.m. until 4:30 p.m. Convention attendees are encouraged to visit the Harvest 20 Research Grant poster display in the trade show. The five scientists and their research teams who received a total of almost $42,000 in grants to research production issues Georgia farmers are facing, will be on-hand to talk about their study findings.
Also on Dec. 2, GFB will host a “Sip and Spoonful” reception from 1 to 3 p.m. showcasing GFB’s Certified Farm Markets.
During the Celebrating Agricultural Literacy event, from 1:30 to 2:30 p.m. on Dec. 2, GFB will recognize efforts by county Farm Bureaus to educate students about agriculture through the Ag in the Classroom program. Three GFB state awards pertaining to the AITC program will be presented at this event – GFB Women’s Committee, Promotion & Education Committee and the 2018 Georgia Agriculture in the Classroom Teacher of the Year Award. The first day of the convention will close with a worship service at 4:30 p.m. that will include a memorial for county Farm Bureau presidents who died this year.
On Dec. 3, convention activities start with the County Presidents’/Secretaries’ Breakfast at 6:30 a.m. Attendees must have purchased a ticket in advance. The GFB Office Manager of the Year will be named at this event and Bronze Quota Counties will be recognized.
The general session begins at 8:15 a.m. GFB President Long will deliver his annual address, followed by remarks from AFBF President Duvall and Commissioner of Agriculture Black. The GFB Legislative Committee Award and McKemie Awards recognizing the most outstanding county Farm Bureau programs in the organization’s small, medium and large membership groups, will also be announced in the general session. The convention trade show will be open from 9 a.m. until noon.
A lunch will be held for GFB Young Farmers & Ranchers and members 36 to 50 beginning at noon. Recipients of the GFB YF&R Awards, including the GFB YFR Committee, will be recognized during this ticketed event.
Commodity conferences featuring 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.
On Dec. 4, GFB voting delegates will meet at 8 a.m. to discuss and approve policy resolutions submitted by county Farm Bureau chapters statewide. The resolutions approved by the delegates will become the organization’s official policy and will guide its legislative efforts in 2019. Delegates will also elect the 2019 GFB Board of Directors. GFB President Long is running unopposed for another term as is GFB Middle Georgia Vice President Robert Fountain Jr.
GFB District Directors running unopposed for another two-year term are: Wesley Hall, Forsyth County, 1st District; Randy Ruff, Elbert County, 2nd District; Nora Goodman, Paulding County, 3rd District; Skeetter McCorkle, McDuffie County, 4th District; Matt Bottoms, Pike County, 5th District; James Emory Tate, Jeff Davis County, 6th District; Ben Boyd, Screven County, 7th District; Don Wood, Wilcox County, 8th District; Lucius Adkins, Baker County, 9th District; and Lamar Vickers, Berrien County, 10th District.
For more information about the GFB convention visit www.gfb.ag/convention.