Georgia Farm Bureau presents state awards
Georgia Farm Bureau (GFB) recognized the best of the organization’s volunteers and county chapters during its 82nd annual convention on Jekyll Island. The state award winners were honored for the programs they completed this past year to promote agriculture.
“Volunteer members are the lifeblood of our organization. They do a lot, from reading to students at local schools to attending county commission meetings and visiting with elected officials at all levels,” GFB President Gerald Long said. “Our volunteers drive GFB forward, promoting agriculture in a wide variety of ways. None of Farm Bureau’s work on behalf of Georgia farmers would be possible without a large and committed network of volunteers. We’re extremely proud of the work all of them do on our behalf, and we congratulate the individual award winners, county volunteers and staff who received state awards.”
GFB named a McKemie Award winner - the highest honor given to a county Farm Bureau in recognition of its overall member programs - from each of its three membership categories. Bacon County Farm Bureau, whose president is David Lee, received the McKemie Award for the small membership category. Polk County Farm Bureau, whose president is James Casey, won the McKemie Award for the medium membership category. Franklin County Farm Bureau, whose president is Michael Thomason, received the award in the large membership category. The McKemie Award is a memorial to former GFB President W.J. McKemie.
Finalists for the McKemie competition, listed alphabetically, in the small membership category were: Crawford, Heard, Jasper, Macon, Treutlen, Turner and Upson counties. Finalists in the
medium membership category were: Berrien, Decatur, Greene, Jeff Davis, Pike, Screven, Stephens, Toombs and Troup counties. Finalists in the large membership category were: Banks, Cherokee, Cobb, Coffee, Habersham, Henry, Paulding, Newton and Walker counties.
Other state awards presented were the: Outstanding Promotion & Education Award received by Franklin County Farm Bureau; Outstanding Women’s Leadership Committee Award received by Franklin County Farm Bureau; Outstanding Legislative Committee Award received by Mitchell County Farm Bureau; and Outstanding Young Farmer Committee Award received by Polk County Farm Bureau.
Staci Waters, the Barrow County Farm Bureau (BCFB) office manager, received the organization’s Outstanding Office Manager Award. Waters, who has been employed with BCFB since 2013, was recognized for the work she has done to promote agriculture and Farm Bureau in her local community. Waters is responsible for coordinating BCFB’s agricultural advocacy and Ag in the Classroom activities throughout the year.
Diana Cole, an elementary teacher in Barrow County, received GFB’s Georgia Agriculture in the Classroom 2019 Teacher of the Year Award. Cole, who teaches second through fourth grades at Statham Elementary School, was recognized for incorporating information about agriculture into her reading, writing, math, science and social studies lessons to teach her students how agriculture impacts their daily lives. She received a $500 award and an expense-paid trip to the National Ag in the Classroom Conference in Salt Lake City, Utah, in June 2020.
Jeff Lamb of Turner County won the 2019 GFB Quality Hay Contest, which was open to any Georgia Farm Bureau member who produces Bermudagrass hay. Samples of hay entered in the contest were tested at the University of Georgia Testing Lab using the Relative Forage Quality (RFQ) Test, which predicts fiber digestibility and the likeliness livestock will eat the hay. Lamb’s winning Russell hay had an RFQ rating of 155.57. He won the free use of a Vermeer TM1200 Trailed Mower for one year courtesy of the Vermeer Manufacturing Company with the option to purchase the mower at a reduced price at the end of the year.
GFB also recognized its Young Farmers & Ranchers competitive event winners, who were announced during the YF&R Summer Leadership Conference in July. The YF&R winners are: Preston and Kendall Jimmerson, of Colquitt County, who won the GFB 2019 YF&R Achievement Award; Rachel and Jason Kinsaul, of Morgan County who are the 2019 GFB YF&R Excellence in Agriculture Award recipients; Kaitlyn Marchant, of Morgan County, who won the 2019 YF&R Discussion Meet; and Walt Pridgen, of Coffee County, who was voted the GFB YF&R Member of the Year.
Georgia Farm Bureau (GFB) honored county Farm Bureaus for promoting agriculture and individual members for personal achievement during the organization’s 82nd annual convention. GFB President Gerald Long (back row, far left) congratulates the 2019 GFB award recipients: (front row, from left) GFB Outstanding Office Manager Staci Waters of Barrow County; Heather Cabe accepting the GFB Outstanding Women’s Leadership Committee Award for Franklin County Farm Bureau; Michael Thomason accepting the GFB McKemie Award in the organization’s large membership category for Franklin County; and Max Freeman accepting the GFB Outstanding Promotion & Education Committee Award for Franklin County; (back row, second from left) David Lee accepting the GFB McKemie Award for Bacon County Farm Bureau in GFB’s small membership category; Madison Atkins accepting the GFB Outstanding Young Farmer Committee Award for Polk County Farm Bureau; and James Casey accepting the GFB McKemie Award for Polk County in GFB’s medium membership category. Not pictured are Mitchell County Farm Bureau Legislative Committee Co-Chairs Casey Cox & Bubba Johnson, for the GFB Outstanding Legislative Committee Award; Diana Cole, the GFB Georgia Agriculture in the Classroom 2019 Teacher of the Year; and Jeff Lamb, winner of the 2019 GFB Quality Hay Contest.